Sunday, November 21, 2010
Kings: Hoping to hold a lead in Ottawa
By Dan Arritt
Kings (13-6-0) vs. Ottawa Senators (9-10-1) at Scotiabank Place, 4:30 p.m. (PT)
Five story lines to track:
1. Coming from ahead -- The Kings continue to give away leads like Halloween candy. The one-goal advantages they squandered in losses last week to Columbus and Buffalo were tough to swallow, but the three-goal lead that evaporated Saturday night at Boston was enough to make someone gag. The saving grace was Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick, who stopped all six shots in the shootout, allowing the Kings to escape with a 4-3 victory.
2. Secondary scoring -- The Kings have received goals from their third and/or fourth lines in three consecutive games. Up until that stretch, the bottom six had scored in only seven of the previous 16 games. Brad Richardson has been bounced around more than a lottery ball in a hopper, but he looked comfortable back on the fourth line Saturday, scoring on his first shift. Michal Handzus may also be coming around, getting goals in two of the last three, as well as the winner in Saturday’s shootout.
3. Ottawa success -- Coming into the season, the Kings had the best record against Ottawa over the previous 10 games than any opponent in the NHL, owning an 8-1-1 mark in that span. They last lost to Ottawa on Dec. 2, 2005. Before that it was in January 2000. The Senators can only hope they continue their trend of beating the Kings every five years.
4. Tough times -- The Senators have lost three straight since the death of Daron Richardson, the 14-year-old daughter of Ottawa assistant Luke Richardson. They've been outscored, 17-4, during the losing streak. Before the tragedy, Ottawa had won five of six.
5. Poor net-minding -- The Kings have faced two of the better goalkeepers in the league during the first two games of this four-game road trip, Tim Thomas of the Bruins and Ryan Miller of Buffalo. They should catch a break against the Senators. Brian Elliott has started 16 of the last 17 games since taking over for an injured Pascal Leclaire. His statistics are hardly impressive. His goals-against average is 3.14 and his save percentage is .905, both near the bottom of the league.