Two teams heading in opposite directions face off Thursday as the surging Los Angeles Kings host the slumping Ottawa Senators. Los Angeles has followed a three-game slide with a winning streak that reached six games with Tuesday’s 5-2 triumph over Minnesota in the opener of its three-game homestand.
Captain Anze Kopitar and defenseman Drew Doughty registered three points apiece while Marian Gaborik scored twice for the Kings, who are tied with Nashville for most points in the Western Conference (39). Ottawa fell to 1-3-0 on its seven-game road trip after dropping a 3-0 decision at Anaheim on Wednesday. It marked the second straight shutout loss for the Senators, who have lost six of their last seven away from home and nine of 10 overall (1-8-1). Ottawa has scored fewer than three goals in all but one of those contests, getting shut out three times in that span.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TSN5, RDS (Ottawa), FSN West (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE SENATORS (9-11-6): Captain Erik Karlsson has been kept off the scoresheet in 10 straight games after recording 17 points in his previous 10 contests. The 27-year-old Swedish defenseman has reached double digits in goals in each of his last six full seasons but has scored just one over his first 21 contests of 2017-18. Mark Stone, who leads the team in both goals (14) and points (25), recorded a point in five consecutive games before Ottawa’s back-to-back shutout losses.
ABOUT THE KINGS (18-8-3): Gaborik entered Tuesday’s game with 400 career assists and exited with the same amount of goals, giving him 800 points. The 35-year-old Slovakian has appeared in only seven contests due to offseason knee surgery and is four shy of 1,000 for his career. Kopitar also reached a milestone against the Wild as his second assist of the game was his 500th in the NHL.
1. The Kings’ winning streak is their longest since a six-game run from Nov. 28-Dec. 11, 2015.
2. Senators C Derick Brassard is one point shy of 400 for his career while RW Alex Burrows needs one assist to reach 200 in the NHL.
3. Doughty has collected 11 points over his last 11 games.
PREDICTION: Kings 5, Senators 2