The Vancouver Canucks (11-5-2) will shoot for their second straight victory tonight when they set down in Hollywood to battle the Los Angeles Kings (10-6-0).
There is a tendency, at times, to suffer a letdown when you're coming off an emotional victory as the Canucks are after knocking off their Sharks 4-2 on Thursday and snapping their nine-game losing streak against San Jose in the process. However, considering the Kings will pose just as tough a challenge as the Sharks did, there really should not be any reason why the Canucks don't treat this game as yet another big measuring stick opportunity.
While the Kings have alternated wins and losses over their last four outings – they are coming off a 2-0 win over the hapless Sabres on Thursday – they are still viewed as a top contender in the realigned Pacific Division and come into this contest sitting just four points behind the Canucks but holding two games in hand. The Canucks won two of the three head-to-head meetings against the Kings last season finishing with a 2-0-1 record. Roberto Luongo and Jonathan Quick are the expected starters for their respective clubs.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT – Live on CBC, THE TEAM 1040, or online at www.teamradio.ca.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Contain Kopi. After a slow start as far as goal scoring is concerned, Anze Kopitar has been unstoppable of late. He has goals in three straight games and four of his last six overall. The Canucks will need to give little space for the Slovenian star to work his magic.
2. Take advantage of a poor PK. It's hard to imagine where the Kings would be this season if their penalty kill was just a bit better. They're only 80.6 percent efficient this season – in the bottom-half of the league – and have given up six power play goals on 24 times shorthanded (75 percent efficiency) over their last six games.
3. Ride the red hot power play. As bad as the Kings' penalty kill has been lately, their man-advantage has been just the opposite. They've scored in four straight games tallying six times on 21 opportunities (28.6 percent) over those outings. Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards have combined for four of those six power play goals.
DID YOU KNOW?
Is hockey experiencing a resurgence in Hollywood? A good team and a Stanley Cup championship (2012) will do that.
The Kings have sold out a club record 77 consecutive games counting playoffs coming into tonight's game eclipsing the previous record of 75 straight sellouts from December 8, 1990 to October 8, 1992 when a certain fellow named Wayne Gretzky starred for the Kings.
.667 – Win pct. for the Canucks this season when playing on CBC (2-1-0).
1 – Win needed for the Canucks to reach 100 victories all-time against the Kings.
4 – Goals scored by Kings D-man Drew Doughty this season. He had just 6 in 48 games last season.
5 – Straight games the Canucks have earned a point in against the Kings (3-0-2).
5 – Straight road games the Canucks have earned at least one point in (4-0-1).
31.9 – Average number of hits per game by the Kings this season.
IN THE INFIRMARY
For the Canucks…
For the Kings…
F Jarret Stoll (upper body) is questionable. F Jeff Carter (lower body) is on the injured reserve list.
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