RED WINGS (19-15-10) at KINGS (26-13-5)
7:30PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 1150
RED ZONE: This is the first of two meetings with the Detroit Red Wings this season. The Kings will travel to Michigan to play the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena one week from today on January 18. The Kings have struggled against Detroit the past two seasons, going 2-5-0 against the Red Wings in their past seven meetings dating back to November 19, 2011. Can the Kings pounce on an injury-ridden Red Wings club tonight?
REJUVENATION STATION: The Kings have bounced back quite well after stumbling through a season-high five-game losing streak, winning two of their past three contests, claiming five of a possible six points available for the taking in the standings in that span. Both the Kings and the Red Wings come into tonight’s bout with a 4-5-1 record in their previous 10 games. The Kings are coming off of a 4-2 win over Boston; the Red Wings are coming off of a 4-1 loss to San Jose. Can the Kings continue their winning path tonight?
CARTER CATERS: Jeff Carter is on an offensive tear as of late. Carter has six points (4G, 2A) in the Kings’ last six games, and 16 points (9G, 7A) in the Kings’ last 16 games. Carter opened the floodgates Thursday night in the Kings’ 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins, slamming home the first goal of the night – his 16th tally of the season. Carter scored the game-tying goal against the Red Wings in Detroit’s previous visit to STAPLES Center in February of 2013. Can Carter cue another red-light tonight against Detroit?
THE LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE: The Red Wings haven’t skated at STAPLES Center since February 27, 2013. On that night, the Kings ousted Detroit in a 2-1 win, thanks to two late third-period goals.
Former King Kyle Quincey put Detroit ahead with a goal midway through the first period.
Jeff Carter knotted the game 1-1 with 9:34 remaining in the game, and Anze Kopitar gave the Kings a 2-1 lead, which would be the night’s eventual game-winning goal, with 4:48 remaining in regulation time.
JEOPARDY: The Detroit Red Wings hold the longest-standing streak of postseason appearances in North American sports, having qualified for the NHL playoffs in every single season since 1989 (putting the 2005 lockout aside), which marks them in at 22-straight postseason berths. Detroit is barely clinging to a playoff spot right now, albeit being three months from the cut-off. Can the Kings add another loss to Detroit’s demise tonight?
WHEN IT’S MICHIGAN, WE TALK D: Alec Martinez, a native of Rochester Hills, Michigan, has returned to Darryl Sutter’s lineup, playing in the Kings’ last three games – and quite impressively so. Matt Greene, a native of Grand Ledge, Michigan, hasn’t played in the last three games, even though he’s 100% healthy.
“You always want to play, but we’re winning games right now and we’re having success and that’s all that I can ask for. First and foremost, I’m part of this team and I want to do is see it win, see it succeed and we’re doing that right now. So it’s good times.” – Matt Greene via LAKingsInsider.com
AWAY FROM THE JOE: The Red Wings, who are flirting with failing to qualify for the postseason for the first time in 22 NHL seasons, are actually doing their finest work away from ‘HockeyTown’ this year. Detroit is a dismal 6-10-7 at Joe Louis Arena this season, but they’re staying afloat in the standings with their beaming success in opposing buildings, going 13-5-3 on the road this season. Can the Kings shut down Detroit on home-ice tonight?
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch KINGS LIVE on FOX SPORTS WEST at 7:00, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call on scene at STAPLES Center for puck-drop at 7:30.