The Montreal Canadiens breathed a collective sigh of relief after ending a seven-game losing streak last time out and look to string two wins together for the first time this season when the Los Angeles Kings pay a visit Thursday. Montreal fell behind by a goal Tuesday against Florida before rallying for a 5-1 victory after suffering through its longest losing streak since dropping nine in a row in 1939-40.
“It’s a step in the right direction, but we can’t step back,” Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber told reporters after scoring twice Tuesday. “We’ve got to keep our foot on the gas and we’ve got to keep getting better.” Montreal’s five goals were a season high after managing 12 in the first eight games and will have difficult time matching that figure against Los Angeles, which leads the league at 2.11 goals against per contest. The Kings rebounded from their first regulation loss Monday in Toronto by edging Ottawa 3-2 in a shootout as Adrian Kempe scored for the second straight game and also converted in the bonus format. “We weren’t happy with the result we had (Monday),” Kempe told the Los Angeles Times. “We just wanted to try and bounce back today, and I think we played a good game, and we got the result we wanted.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), RDS, TSN2 (Montreal)
ABOUT THE KINGS (7-1-1): Jonathan Quick (5-1-1, .934 save percentage, 2.15 goals-against average), who turned aside 36 of 37 shots on Oct. 18 in a win over Montreal, sat out Tuesday’s win in favor of backup Darcy Kuemper and is expected back in net for his 500th career game. Kempe’s goals the last two games tied him for second on the team with Dustin Brown at five while captain Anze Kopitar leads the way with six. Alec Martinez notched his first goal Tuesday to give Los Angeles six from its defensemen this season as Drew Doughty boasts three and Jake Muzzin two.
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (2-6-1): Montreal’s power play, which was 2-for-26 in its first seven games, has begun to wake up after converting twice on four opportunities against Florida and three times the last two contests. Jonathan Drouin notched a pair of assists Tuesday to push his team-leading total to seven points and captain Max Pacioretty, who leads the team with 35 shots, scored his second of the campaign. Carey Price showed signs of pulling out of his early-season funk with 26 saves against Florida and is 6-1-0 in seven career games against the Kings.
1. Los Angeles entered Wednesday second in the league on the penalty kill (91.2 percent), allowing only three power-play goals.
2. Montreal F Andrew Shaw, who had one of his two assists against the Kings last week, is slated to play his 400th NHL game Thursday.
3. The Kings have earned at least a point in seven of the last nine meetings with the Canadiens (6-2-1).
PREDICTION: Canadiens 4, Kings 2