KINGS AT OILERS
Faceoff: 6:30 p.m. TV/Radio: FSW, 790-AM
Kings general manger Dean Lombardi didn’t make a deal at the NHL’s trade deadline Monday, so the roster will remain intact for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs, if they make the playoffs. The Kings have lost three consecutive games, including a lackluster 5-2 defeat Sunday to the Winnipeg Jets, and fell from a playoff spot after winning eight consecutive games and returning to the postseason field. The Kings are 29-21-12 overall, but only 9-14-6 away from Staples Center. Only the Buffalo Sabres (seven), Toronto Maple Leafs (seven), Edmonton Oilers (eight) have fewer road wins than the Kings, which explains their predicament. Coach Darryl Sutter hasn’t been pleased with the play of his veterans during the Kings’ three-game losing streak, but he hasn’t named names. The Oilers are 18-35-10, and last in the Pacific Division and in the Western Conference.
LIGHTNING AT KINGS
Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. TV/Radio: FSW, 790-AM
The Kings got an unexpected day off from coach Darryl Sutter on Sunday after taking a 3-1 victory Saturday from the Washington Capitals, their fourth consecutive win. The Kings’ streak began with a 4-2 victory Feb. 7 over the Lightning in Tampa. Although they have played a good deal better in all three zones, and in goal, the Kings (25-18-12) remain on the outside of the playoff picture. Three points and two teams separated the Kings from the final wild-card spot at the start of business Sunday. The Kings are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games, but the Minnesota Wild, the team that’s one point ahead of them in the standings, is 8-0-2. Tyler Toffoli has five goals and seven points during a four-game point streak. The Lightning are 35-17-6 after Sunday’s 5-2 win over the Sharks in San Jose. Steven Stamkos scored his team-leading 30th goal and Ben Bishop stopped 33 shots in Tampa’s win.
Kings forward Tyler Toffoli recorded four goals and six points to lead the team to three victories last week. The NHL took notice and named Toffoli the second star of the week. His week was highlighted by his first three-goal game in the NHL during a 5-3 victory Thursday over the Columbus Blue Jackets. He also had an assist for a career-best tying four-point game. He became the first Kings player under 23 to record a hat trick since Anze Kopitar on Oct. 22, 2009. Toffoli has 18 goals and 36 points going into Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks was the first start and goalie Pekka Rinne of the league-leading Nashville Predators was the third.
Kings defenseman Alec Martinez. (Photo by John McCoy Daily News)
KINGS AT BLUE JACKETS
Faceoff: 4 p.m. TV/Radio: FSW, 790-AM
Defenseman Alec Martinez is said to be day-to-day because of concussion-like symptoms after he took a hard hit Saturday. The Kings ended a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory Saturday over the then-Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning, the fourth stop on their five-game trip. Martinez was injured in the first period. A victory today over the Blue Jackets would enable them to salvage their trip and give them back-to-back road wins for the first time since defeating the Minnesota Wild on Nov. 26 and then the Phoenix Coyotes on Dec. 4. The Kings are 22-18-12 overall, but 6-12-6 on the road after ending a four-game losing streak away from Staples Center on Saturday. Only the lowly Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers, with five apiece, had fewer road victories at the start of business Sunday. Defenseman Drew Doughty scored his first goal in 14 games Saturday. Justin Williams scored twice against the Lightning, ending a seven-game drought without a point. The Blue Jackets are 23-25-3, and will welcome Marian Gaborik back to Columbus for the first time since trading him to the Kings last March.
KINGS AT LIGHTNING
Faceoff: 2 p.m. TV/Radio: FSW, 790-AM
The Kings (21-18-12) lost their third in a row to start their five game trip and remained mired in 12th place in the Western Conference after a 3-2 defeat Thursday to the Florida Panthers. They also were five points out of the final wild-card spot. The Kings are 5-12-6 away from Staples Center, tied with the lowly Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers for the fewest road victories in the 30-team NHL. The Kings’ chances of making the playoffs were down to only 12.5 percent, according to the website sportsclubstats.com. Kings forward Jeff Carter has a defensive rating of plus-14 in home games, seventh-best in the league. Carter’s defensive rating of minus-12 on the road is 798th, however. Carter has scored 12 of his 14 goals and recorded 17 of 22 his assists at home. Defenseman Drew Doughty is the Kings’ leading scorer on the road with 14 points, including four goals. Tampa Bay is first in the Eastern Conference with a 33-15-5 record. Steve Stamkos leads the Lightning with 28 goals, tied for third overall in the NHL with two others.
KINGS AT PANTHERS
Faceoff: 4:30 p.m. TV/Radio: FSW, 790-AM
Two games, two losses, one goal. The Kings’ five-game trip started with a whimper instead of a bang and the reigning Stanley Cup champions awoke Wednesday to find themselves in 12th place in the Western Conference and out of the playoff picture. Their 5-11-6 road record, which includes a 1-6-2 mark since Dec. 11, is partly to blame for a lackluster 21-17-12 overall record. The Kings are 15-16-11 since starting the season 6-1-1. Goalie Jonathan Quick, the MVP of the playoffs during the Kings’ first run to the Stanley Cup in 2012, is 17-14-10 with a 2.51 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. Kings captain Dustin Brown called for more emotion from his teammates after a 4-0 loss Tuesday to the Capitals in Washington, which followed a 3-1 defeat Saturday to the Bruins in Boston. Florida is 22-17-10. The Panthers on Thursday recalled defenseman Steven Kampfer from San Antonio of the AHL.
KINGS AT CAPITALS
Faceoff: 4 p.m. TV/Radio: FSW, 790-AM
The Kings’ 5-10-6 road record is the NHL’s third-worst by victories and fourth-worst by points. Only the Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers had fewer road wins than the Kings with four apiece at the start of business Monday, and only the Sabres (nine), Oilers (15) and Carolina Hurricanes (15) had fewer points than the Kings’ 16. The Kings (21-16-12 overall) were ninth in the Western Conference, three points behind the Calgary Flames for the final wild-card spot. The Flames could have extended the gap to five points with a victory Monday over the Winnipeg Jets. The Kings began a five-game trip with a loss Saturday to the Boston Bruins. Anze Kopitar leads the Kings with 38 points, including 27 assists. Marian Gaborik has a team-leading 15 goals. Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin leads the league with 31 goals. The Capitals are 25-15-10.
KINGS AT BRUINS
Faceoff: 4 p.m. TV/Radio: FSW, 790-AM
The Kings begin a five-game trip in Boston on Sunday, hit the White House for a celebration of their Stanley Cup championship Monday and then finish with stops to play the Washington Capitals, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets. The Kings must improve on their 5-9-6 road record if they hope to move back among the top eight teams in the Western Conference that will qualify for the playoffs. The Kings (21-15-12) were one point behind the Calgary Flames (26-20-3) for the final wild-card berth at the start of business Friday. Anze Kopitar leads the Kings with 38 points, including 27 assists, and Jeff Carter has 36 points, including 22 assists. Carter had two goals and one assist in the Kings’ victory Wednesday over the Chicago Blackhawks. The Bruins are 26-16-7 after a victory Thursday over the New York Islanders.
Martin Jones earned a second consecutive start in goal for the Kings after shutting out the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0 on Monday. He hadn’t started for a month, since a 6-2 loss Dec. 12 to the Montreal Canadiens, but was razor sharp against the Maple Leafs. His only other appearance was a relief stint after Kings coach Darryl Sutter pulled Jonathan Quick after three goals on nine shots Dec. 3 against the Nashville Predators. Jones gave up four goals in a 7-6 overtime loss to the Predators.
“He hadn’t played in a month, so I don’t know if he bounced back,” Sutter said of Jones. “We need both our goalies to win games. That’s all we’re doing. We want to give Quick a chance to get six or more days between games, and we need our other goalie to win games. It’s not bounce back. It’s either you win or you lose. If we had won the other night, then Quick would have played tonight.” Got it? Good.
Kings defenseman Alec Martinez scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in double-OT in Game 5. (Photo by John McCoy Daily News)
Remember this? The New York Rangers certainly do. They face the Kings on Thursday at Staples Center for the first time since Alec Martinez’s goal in double-overtime sent the Rangers home without the Stanley Cup. The Rangers begin a three-game trip to California on Wednesday against the Ducks in Anaheim. Their minds were focused on the Kings and a return to Staples Center, however.
“I think it will always be in the back of the memory,” New York’s Rick Nash told Rangers beat reporters the other day. “I think the rest of your life, whenever you say L.A., that memory will come up. But in saying that, it’s a new season, so it doesn’t really matter what happened last season.”