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Road test for Kings begins tonight in Buffalo

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

KINGS (14-8-5) at SABRES (9-16-2)


WESTERN NY: This is the second and final meeting with Buffalo this season, and the first and only at the First Niagara Center. The Kings beat the Sabres 2-0 at STAPLES Center on October 23. This is the first of a five-game road trip for the Kings. For the Sabres, they’re kicking off a four-game home stand tonight. After starting the season with a 3-10-2 record, Buffalo has gone 6-3-0 in its previous nine games.

GABORIK’S BACK: Marian Gaborik is expected to return to the Kings’ lineup tonight after missing four games with an undisclosed injury. Gaborik skated alongside Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar on the Kings’ first unit at today’s morning skate. Gaborik, in 15 games played this season, has registered eight points (4G, 4A).

LINEUP NOTES: Jonathan Quick is expected to get the call in the Kings’ crease tonight. It will mark Quick’s 22nd start of the season, and his second against the Buffalo Sabres. Quick comes into the night with a 11-6-4 record, posting a .931 SV% (2nd in NHL) and a 2.14 GAA. In five career starts against the Sabres, Quick is 4-0-0. Quick made 29 saves in a shutout performance against Buffalo on October 23.

70’S THROWBACK: Tanner Pearson, Tyler Toffoli, and Jeff Carter are expected to reunite on the Kings’ second unit tonight for the first time in over two weeks. The trio started off the season on a tear with each other, but were separated as Darryl Sutter looked to find some balance in the Kings’ offense. Pearson and Toffoli are tied for the team lead in goals scored (10), Toffoli is first overall on the team in points (20), Carter is third (18).

OTHER NOTES: Kyle Clifford who went down with an illness following the Kings’ loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, skated as an extra this morning in Buffalo. He will likely be out of the lineup tonight. Jordan Nolan, who skated with Dwight King and Mike Richards on the Kings’ fourth unit, will get the chance to play against his father, Ted Nolan, for the second time in his career.

THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Kings’ previous visit to Buffalo’s First Niagara Center on November 12, 2013, their only since November of 2010, the Kings fell 3-2 in a shootout. Justin Williams got the Kings on the board just over a minute into the contest, and Dwight King buried the game-tying goal in the final minutes of regulation time. The Kings have dropped each of their previous five games in Buffalo, their last win came on February 21, 2003.

WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Tonight's contest will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network at 4:30PM PT.

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