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Kings look to halt a rolling Ottawa club

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings



SENATORS (25-23-10) at KINGS (29-18-12)

7:30PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 790 KABC

LOOKING FOR NINE: Tonight marks the second and final meeting with Ottawa this season; the Kings beat the Senators 5-3 on December 11 at the Canadian Tire Centre. Ottawa is playing the second of it’s five-game road trip; they’ve won four of their previous five games, scoring a combined 21 goals during that span; they’re coming off of a 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night. The Kings have won eight straight games; they’re finishing up their two-game home stand tonight; they’re coming off of a 1-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night.

PACIFIC KILLERS: The Ottawa Senators, who beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-0 Wednesday night, have found a great deal of success against Pacific Division opponents this season. In 10 games against teams in the division, the Senators have gone 7-2-1; the Kings handed Ottawa one of their two regulation losses earlier this season. The Senators are hot in general, having picked up points in six of their last seven games, posting a 5-1-1 record, scoring 23 goals during that span, averaging 3.28 goals per contest. Can the Kings halt Ottawa’s winning ways against the Pacific Division tonight?

LINEUP NOTES: There are expected to be no changes to the Kings’ lineup tonight, other than the possibility of Andrej Sekera making it to Los Angeles in time for the game and drawing into Darryl Sutter’s lineup. Jonathan Quick left the ice first; he’ll make his 16th consecutive start. Per Jon Rosen, who attended the Kings’ morning skate, here’s how tonight’s lineup should pan out:

GABORIK – KOPITAR – BROWN
KING – CARTER – TOFFOLI
LEWIS – STOLL – WILLIAMS
CLIFFORD – SHORE – NOLAN
(ANDREOFF)
--------------------
REGEHR – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – GREENE
MCNABB – MCBAIN
(FORBORT – SEKERA)

ANDREJ: The Kings acquired defenseman Andrej Sekera from the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday for prospect Roland McKeown and a conditional first-round draft pick. Due to snowy conditions in Raleigh, NC, Sekera was unable to make it to the Kings’ morning skate at the Toyota Sports Center. If Sekera does make it to Los Angeles in time for tonight’s game, he is expected to make his debut with the Kings. Sekera will wear #7.

SENS IN LA: Since STAPLES Center opened prior to the 1999-’00 NHL campaign; the Senators have paid eight visits to the Kings’ home arena, having very little success. The Senators’ only win in franchise history at STAPLES Center came on January 11, 2000. The Kings are 6-1-1 in Ottawa’s eight visits to downtown Los Angeles.

LIFE ALERT: Ottawa sits seven points behind the Boston Bruins for the Eastern Conference’s second and final wild-card playoff spot, with two games in hand. While the Senators will look to inch closer to a playoff berth, the Kings will be looking to stay in theirs tonight in an effort to win their ninth-consecutive game. The Kings currently sit at third-place in the Pacific Division.

THE LAST TIME AROUND: In Ottawa’s previous visit to STAPLES Center on October 9 of last season, the Kings won the game 4-3 in OT. The Kings took a 3-0 lead in the first period with two goals from Dustin Brown and another from Jeff Carter. Milan Michalek tied the game for the Senators with just under five minutes to play in regulation; Jeff Carter won the game for the Kings 28 seconds into OT. Jonathan Quick made 22 saves in the win.

WINNING TIP

WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the KINGS LIVE pregame show at 7:00 on FOX SPORTS WEST, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from STAPLES Center for puck drop at 7:30PM PT.

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