At the outset of this home stand, the Canucks saw the chance to play six consecutive games in front of their home fans as an opportunity to bolster their position in the standings and stay within striking distance of the elite teams in the Conference. Sadly, they've gone the exact way. Vancouver has picked up just four out of a possible 10 points so far on this home stand – their most recent outing was a 2-1 loss at the hands of the Blackhawks on Saturday – and they are faced with potentially slipping even further back of the playoff pack if they fall tonight to a Kings' team that has earned points in nine straight games despite coming off back-to-back overtime losses.
There were many who thought the Kings might stumble after losing number one netminder Jonathan Quick to injury back on November 12 but all back-up Ben Scrivens has done in relief is get results. Scrivens has started six straight games posting a record of 4-0-2 during that stretch with a pair of shutouts. He came close to posting another shutout in his last outing on Saturday against Colorado – a game his team lost 1-0 in overtime. This is the second of five meetings between the Canucks and Kings this season. Los Angeles drew first blood with a 5-1 win back on November 9 at the Staples Center.
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Keys to the Game
Break down the brick wall. The Canucks will likely face a hot goaltender tonight in Ben Scrivens but, then again, what goalie hasn't been hot against the Canucks lately. Whatever it takes – if that means wearing their goalie down with shots or literally driving through him with bodies – the Canucks just need to get some goals.
Watch out for the young guns. It wasn't so much the likes of Richards and Kopitar that did the damage against the Canucks in their first meeting against the Kings this season as it was the likes of youngsters Vey and Toffoli. The latter two might not be household names just yet in the NHL but the Canucks have to be mindful of them.
Beware the trap game. Given the Canucks' recent struggles and the fact Los Angeles dominated Vancouver in their first head-to-head meeting the Kings might feel like they can waltz into Rogers Arena and take two points. But as we know, the Canucks aren't playing as poorly as their recent record indicates and the Kings can't expect to sleepwalk to a win.
By the Numbers
Save percentage for Kings goalie Ben Scrivens this season.
Win needed for the Canucks for 100 all-time victories against the Kings.
Average goals per game for the Canucks this season, slightly better than the Kings' 2.50.
Straight regular season home games without a regulation loss for the Canucks versus the Kings (7-0-2) dating back to Mar. 13, 2009.
Straight games with a point earned for the Kings entering play tonight (7-0-2). Their franchise record is 11 straight games.
Minutes and five seconds of consecutive playing time without a goal scored by the Kings.