Tonight marks the second and final meeting with the Canadiens this season and Montreal’s lone visit to STAPLES Center. The Canadiens are playing the third of a four-game road trip where they’ve gone 0-1-1 thus far; they’re coming off of a 3-2 SO loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night. The Kings are playing the first of a five-game home stand; they’re coming off of a 4-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks Sunday night.
LINEUP: The Kings held a morning skate at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo in anticipation of tonight’s game. Newly acquired Kris Versteeg skated on the right side of Tanner Pearson and Jeff Carter on the second line. Andy Andreoff and Jamie McBain remained on the ice for extra work and are tonight’s presumed healthy scratches. Jonathan Quick left the ice first and will start in net.
LUCIC – KOPITAR – TOFFOLI
PEARSON – CARTER – VERSTEEG
BROWN – LECAVALIER – LEWIS
KING – SHORE – CLIFFORD
SCUDERI – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – MARTINEZ
MCNABB – SCHENN
KRIS IS A KING: Kris Versteeg, who the Kings acquired in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes Sunday, will make his debut in a Los Angeles uniform tonight. Versteeg will skate on the right win with Tanner Pearson and Jeff Carter on the team’s second line. In 63 games with the Hurricanes this season, Versteeg posted 33 points (11G, 22A). In 17 games against Montreal in his nine-year NHL career, Versteeg has eight points (4G, 4A).
THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Kings’ first meeting of the season with the Canadiens on December 17 at Montreal’s Bell Centre, they won 3-0. Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar scored second period goals while Marian Gaborik added an empty-netter. Doughty led all Kings players with two points scored (1G, 1A). Jonathan Quick stopped all 35 shots he faced in the win. The Kings have beaten the Canadiens in each of Montreal’s previous two visits to STAPLES Center, the most recent a 4-3 SO win on March 5, 2015.
SEEING SCRIVENS: The Kings will see former back-up and fan-favorite Ben Scrivens in net for the Canadiens tonight. In nine starts this season, Scrivens has posted a 3-5-0 record with a .901 SV% and a 3.00 GAA. Scrivens has not won a game since February 9, when he made 37 saves in Montreal’s 4-2 win over Tampa Bay. In four career starts against the Kings, all with Edmonton, Scrivens is 1-3-0 with a .885 SV% and a 4.00 GAA.
COMPANY: With the Anaheim Ducks’ win over the Canadiens Wednesday night, they have now tied the Kings atop the Pacific Division with 78 points. The Kings, however, own the tiebreaker having 35 regulation or overtime wins compared to Anaheim’s 32. The Kings host the Ducks Saturday afternoon, can they maintain their spot atop the Pacfic Division until then by earning a couple of points tonight?
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the ‘Kings Live’ pregame show at 7:00 PM PST on Fox Sports West, followed with Nick Nickson and Jim Fox on the live play-by-play call from STAPLES Center for puck drop just after 7:30. As always, you can listen to Jon Rosen and Daryl Evans call the action over the radio airwaves on AM 790 KABC.