(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Kings haven't missed a beat at home since spending nearly a month on the road, while the Red Wings continue to have a lot of success away from Detroit this season. The Kings continue a six-game homestand hoping for a fifth straight victory at the Staples Center, while the Red Wings try to extend a five-game road winning streak in this matchup of Western Conference contenders.
Los Angeles spent most of February on the road courtesy of a 10-game swing, but have won back-to-back games since returning to the City of Angeles on Thursday. After knocking off the Wild, the Kings posted a 4-3 win over the Avalanche on Saturday. The Kings scored the game's first four goals on Saturday, with Jarret Stoll capping the barrage 5:47 into the third period. The Avalanche then scored three straight, including a tally with 29.3 seconds left, but Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles defense held on.
Quick needed to make just 14 saves and both Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty had a goal and an assist for the Kings, who have won three straight overall and are 11-1-3 in their last 15 games. Ryan Smyth posted his 400th career assist as Los Angeles unleashed a season-high 42 shots. "We dominated pretty much the whole thing, but obviously not happy with our lapse at the end there," Doughty said. "Good teams shut things down, and we didn't do that today, but we can in the future."
Still, Los Angeles is just four points back of first-place San Jose in the Pacific Division and fifth overall in the Western Conference. Quick is just 4-5-0 with a 2.66 goals-against average in his career versus the Red Wings, but was at his best when the teams last faced off in Detroit on Dec. 13. Quick made a career-high 51 saves, Kopitar had two goals and Doughty assisted on three tallies in a 5-0 victory.
Los Angeles has won four straight over Detroit, but its 3-2 overtime win at home over the Red Wings on Dec. 4, on a Kopitar game-winner, was just its third in its last 14 at the Staples Center in this series. Detroit may get back on track in LA rather quickly given its 21-8-2 road mark this season. The Red Wings began a five-game road trip on Saturday with a 3-2 shootout win at Buffalo.
Pavel Datsyuk and Jiri Hudler both scored in regulation, with Hudler tying the game with under a minute left in the third, before both skaters scored in the shootout. Joey MacDonald ended with 30 saves as Detroit snapped a two-game skid, with both losses coming at home. "We stuck in it until the end," said MacDonald. "We got a goal to tie it and then we got it done in the shootout. We come away with two points, which is huge."
Detroit, which is five points back of Vancouver for the lead in both the West and the overall NHL standings, leads both Chicago and Nashville by 10 points for the Central Division title. Jimmy Howard is likely to get the start tonight in net and made 21-of-26 saves versus the Kings in the last meeting to fall to 2-3-0 with 3.02 GAA versus Los Angeles.
Detroit got forwards Mike Modano and Valtteri Filppula back from injuries, with Modano having missed 41 games due to a lacerated right wrist and Filppula sitting out eight straight with a sprained left MCL. Defenseman Brian Rafalski missed the win with back spasms and could also sit out tonight, while forward Johan Franzen won't play due to the pending birth of his first child.
For more news and information on tonight's game, be sure to read Jewels From The Crown.