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Canadiens-Kings Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

Associated Press

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Canadiens-Kings Preview
Montréal Canadiens vs. Los Angeles Kings

It has been more than eight years since the Los Angeles Kings last defeated the Montreal Canadiens.

Although the Canadiens arrive in Southern California for Saturday afternoon's matchup riding a four-game losing streak, it could be tough for the Kings to snap their six-game skid in the series if two of their regulars are sidelined.

Los Angeles (13-8-4) is coming off Thursday's 2-1 victory over Florida, but the win may have come at a cost.

Defenseman Willie Mitchell, who trails only Jack Johnson and Anze Kopitar in ice time, sustained a lower-body injury on his first shift and didn't return. Late in the second period, center Mike Richards, who had nine goals in his final 10 games of November, was checked along the boards and could not play in the third.

Both are listed as day-to-day.

Despite that thin bench, the Kings still managed to kill all six Florida power plays.

"The penalty killers did a big job, especially after we lost Willie Mitchell on the back end - because he's a very good penalty killer," coach Terry Murray said. "He played only one shift, and then as the game goes along, Mike Richards is gone. And he's a pretty good penalty killer. So that put a little bit of pressure on some guys, but everybody stepped it up and got the job done."

Jonathan Quick rose to the occasion, stopping a season-high 41 shots. This came after a 33-save performance in Tuesday's 2-0 win over San Jose.

Although Quick looks to be finding his rhythm after losing three straight, he has a 3.52 goals-against average in dropping his two career starts against the Canadiens.

Los Angeles' struggles against Montreal date back long before Quick's NHL debut in 2007. The Kings have been outscored 24-12 in losing the last six games to the Canadiens since a 2-1 victory on March 8, 2003, and they're 6-19-0 with a tie in the series since losing the 1993 Stanley Cup finals.

In the lone meeting last season, Montreal won 4-1 behind goals from Michael Cammalleri, Lars Eller, Andrei Kostitsyn and Tomas Plekanec, and 24 saves from Carey Price. Plekanec has three goals in his last three games against the Kings.

Very little has gone right lately for the Canadiens (10-11-5), losers of four straight since a 4-3 shootout victory over Carolina on Nov. 23.

Max Pacioretty, who has a team-high 10 goals, will serve the final game of a three-game suspension Saturday. Additionally, Montreal is 0 for 24 on the power play in its last six games and is 3 for 43 (7.0 percent) this season on the road.

This doesn't bode well against a Los Angeles team that's killed 24 straight penalties.

Montreal looked poised to beat San Jose on Thursday up 3-2 in the third, but Ryan Clowe scored with 1:26 remaining to tie the score. The Canadiens went on to lose 4-3 in a shootout.

"We can't lose these types of games," said Price, who matched a season high with 38 saves. "It seems like we've done it five or six times where we give up a lead in the last five minutes. We have to bear down. It's tough knowing you had the game in the bag."

Price has a 3.22 GAA in losing his last three starts after going 3-1-0 with a 0.99 GAA and a pair of shutouts in his previous four games.

He's 2-0-0 with a 2.01 GAA in two starts against the Kings.

2011-2012 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Dec 03 '11 MTL 2 at LAK 1 A. Kostitsyn
T. Plekanec2761622-22232
M. Pacioretty2410919+11601
E. Cole278816+31231
D. Desharnais2741216+21211
B. Gionta277714-61420
M. Cammalleri226713-4401
A. Kostitsyn177512+1613
P. Subban2711011+33500
T. Moen278210+52800
J. Gorges271910+121601
Y. Weber27369-41230
L. Eller25268+41600
R. Diaz27156-41200
S. Gomez13044-3400
J. Spacek12033+2200
P. Nokelainen25112-42200
H. Gill22022-61000
M. Darche27101-4600
L. Leblanc3011+1000
A. Emelin19000-4800
A. Palushaj15000-2400
A. Engqvist8000+1200
M. Blunden8000-2700
F. St-Denis7000+0800
C. Campoli1000+0000
C. Price2310-8-5526412.23.919
P. Budaj41-3-0101162.50.914
A. Kopitar26101525-3241
M. Richards2511920+31710
J. Williams2631316-11010
S. Gagne247815+31602
D. Brown2651015+42033
J. Johnson265510-21433
D. Doughty21268-31610
J. Stoll26257+12000
S. Voynov14336+5221
W. Mitchell25156+4601
M. Greene26145+11800
E. Moreau26134-22001
K. Clifford26123-22500
D. Penner15123-22710
T. Hunter14033+1400
A. Martinez16202-2220
S. Parse9202+11410
K. Westgarth11112+02100
R. Scuderi26022-21000
A. Loktionov9022-1200
C. Fraser11101+21400
T. Lewis19011+0700
B. Richardson19011-51000
D. Drewiske2000-1200
J. Quick2111-6-4426581.97.936
J. Bernier52-3-0141312.83.893