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With a win in Vancouver, Kings can climb the Pacific

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings



KINGS (18-12-8) at CANUCKS (21-11-3)

7:00 PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 790 KABC

NEW YEAR’S NIGHT: Tonight marks the second of five meetings with the Canucks this season, and the first of three at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena. The Canucks are kicking off a five-game home stand tonight, where they’re 12-6-2 this season. After trudging through a 0-4-1 slide midway through December, the Canucks have done 3-0-1 in their previous four games; Vancouver is coming off of a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks Tuesday night. The Kings are finishing their three-game road trip, where they’ve posted a 0-1-1 record thus far.

ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD: The Kings will return to Los Angeles for seven straight home games at STAPLES Center following tonight’s tilt in Vancouver. The Kings, who have struggled on the road this season, have lost their last five games (0-3-2) away from Los Angeles, and are winless (0-1-1) on their current three-game road trip. With a 4-8-6 record in 18 games away from STAPLES Center this season, the Kings could certainly use a win tonight before returning home.

STANDINGS HOP: With a win tonight, the Kings would move from fifth-place in the Pacific Division and surpass the Vancouver Canucks to take over the grouping’s second-place slot. The Kings would also move ahead of both the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks in the standings with a win tonight. With a 18-12-8 record coming into the night, the Kings have earned 44 points in the standings so far this season.

LINEUP LOOK: Jonathan Quick left the ice first at this morning’s pregame skate at Rogers Arena, and is expected to make his 31st start of the season tonight. Jordan Nolan was the only skater to stay on the ice for extra work with Martin Jones; he will likely be out of tonight’s lineup. Per Jon Rosen’s coverage of the Kings’ morning skate, here’s how the lineup should shake up:

GABORIK – KOPITAR – WILLIAMS
PEARSON – CARTER – TOFFOLI
BROWN – STOLL – LEWIS
CLIFFORD – RICHARDS – KING
(ANDREOFF – NOLAN)
------------------------------
MUZZIN – DOUGHTY
MCNABB – GREENE
SCHULTZ – MARTINEZ
(MCBAIN)

WHO’S HOT: Marian Gaborik extended his point streak to seven games Tuesday night with his assist on Jake Muzzin’s goal. Gaborik his 11 points (7G, 4A) during his current scoring streak. With his goal Tuesday night, defenseman Jake Muzzin now has three in his past six games, extending his season total to five goals. Trevor Lewis has four points (2G, 2A) in the last five games, while Anze Kopitar has 13 points (2G, 11A) in the previous seven.

THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Kings’ previous visit to Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on April 5 of last season, they fell to the Canucks 2-1 after surrendering a pair of third period goals. The Kings are 3-6-0 in their last nine regular season trips to Vancouver, dating back to the start of the 2009-’10 season. All three of the Kings’ wins in that span have come in overtime or a shootout, including their 3-2 win on November 25 of last season.

WINNER WINNER

WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch KINGS LIVE at 6:30PM PT on FOX SPORTS WEST, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from Rogers Arena for puck drop at 7:00PM PT.

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