The Los Angeles Kings will attempt to rebound after dropping a showdown for supremacy in the Pacific Division when they open a three-game Western Canada swing at the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night. Los Angeles has stumbled of late with losses in five of its last seven games (2-3-2), including four of five on the road.
The Kings had a chance to move back into first place in the division but came up on the short end of a 3-2 overtime decision to expansion Vegas on Thursday night. “We were lucky to get one point,” said defenseman Drew Doughty after Los Angeles was outshot 39-28 on its home ice. “In some ways, I don’t even think we deserved a point.” Vancouver halted a four-game slide and won for only the second time in 10 games (2-7-1) as its newly configured top line amassed 12 points in a 5-2 trouncing of Chicago on Thursday. The Canucks rallied from a two-goal deficit for a 3-2 victory at Los Angeles on Nov. 14, their third victory in the past four meetings.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), CBC, Sportsnet (Vancouver)
ABOUT THE KINGS (22-11-5): Doughty was held off the scoresheet in last month’s loss to Vancouver, but he has three goals and 14 assists in 20 games since, including one of each in Thursday’s setback to Vegas. Doughty needs one goal to tie Steve Duchesne (99) for second on the franchise list for defensemen. Jonathan Quick is 16-15-2 lifetime against the Canucks, a deceptive mark given his 1.66 goals-against average and .938 save percentage against them.
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (16-17-5): Veteran Thomas Vanek, in his third game paired with Sam Gagner and rookie sensation Brock Boeser, had a hand in all five goals Thursday - scoring twice and collecting three assists - to give him 12 goals and 28 points on the season. Boeser scored for the fourth consecutive game and notched his eighth goal in 10 contests for a team-high 21 tallies. “It’s been a blast,” Boeser told reporters. “Just based off of last game, I thought our chemistry was building.”
1. The Kings have the league’s top-ranked penalty kill with a success rate of 87 percent.
2. Since collecting an assist at Los Angeles on Nov. 14, Boeser has 16 goals in 20 games.
3. Los Angeles has struggled in division play, posting a 3-4-3 mark against Pacific foes.
PREDICTION: Kings 3, Canucks 1