KINGS (21-16-12) at CAPITALS (25-15-10)
4:00PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 790 KABC
CAPITAL CITY: Tonight marks the first of two meetings with the Capitals this season; the Kings will host Washington at STAPLES Center on February 14. Washington comes into the night struggling after having gone on a 14-1-4 run, winning only a single game in their previous seven contests (1-4-2). The Capitals are coming off of a 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday afternoon. The Kings are playing the second game of their five-game road trip; they’re coming off of a 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins Saturday night.
BACK TO BUSINESS: After being honored by President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday for their 2014 Stanley Cup Championship, the Kings must immediately direct their focus on a game they need to win. The Kings find themselves three points behind the Vancouver Canucks for the Western Conference’s final wild-card spot, and they’re in dire need of pocketing some points during this road trip. The last team to miss the playoffs the season after winning the Stanley Cup was the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006-’07.
HISTORY LESSON: The Kings, who come into the night with just one win in their previous eight games (1-5-2) away from STAPLES Center, might need to lean on their recent string of success against the Capitals for a little bit of leverage tonight. The Kings have won their last seven match-ups against Washington dating back to November of 2008, and 10 of their last 12, dating back to March of 2003. Can the Kings extend their winning streak against the Capitals tonight?
LINEUP NOTES: It is unclear whether Nick Shore or Andy Andreoff will play alongside Trevor Lewis and Jordan Nolan on the fourth line tonight. Jamie McBain remained on the ice for extra work this morning, so he will be tonight’s scratched defenseman. Per Jon Rosen, who attended the Kings’ morning skate, here’s how tonight’s lineup should shake out:
GABORIK – KOPITAR – BROWN
KING – CARTER – TOFFOLI
CLIFFORD – STOLL – WILLIAMS
LEWIS – SHORE – ANDREOFF – NOLAN
MUZZIN – DOUGHTY
REGEHR – MARTINEZ
MCNABB – GREENE
TENDER SPOT: Jonathan Quick will get the start for the Kings tonight, he is undefeated in his career when facing the Washington Capitals, posting a 4-0-0 record with a 2.40 GAA and a .917 SV%. In net for the Capitals will be Braden Holtby, who has never faced the Kings in his NHL career. Holtby is tied with New Jersey’s Corey Schneider for the most games played by a goaltender this season with 43. Holtby carries a 23-10-9 record into the night, along with a .923 SV% and a 2.22 GAA.
COACH SPEAKS: “We’re playing Washington tonight,” Darryl Sutter firmly stated Tuesday morning. “We’re not playing anybody that’s behind us or ahead of us in the standings. We’re playing the Washington Capitals. We’ll deal with that. That’s how you have success over and over and over, is you don’t let anything from the outside interfere with what you’re trying to do. If you do that well enough you win more than you lose, and that’s kind of what we’ve done.”
THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Kings’ previous visit to Washington’s Verizon Center on March 25 of last season, they rallied late and won the game 5-4 in a shootout. The Capitals pushed ahead early with two goals from Alex Ovechkin, but the Kings stormed back with three third period goals to extend the game to overtime. Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar scored in the shootout to secure the win for the Kings. Jonathan Quick made 23 saves, and stopped both of Washington’s shootout attempts.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the KINGS LIVE pregame coverage on FOX SPORTS WEST at 3:30PM, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from the Verizon Center for puck drop at 4:00PM.