The New Jersey Devils have been good at sending fans home disappointed of late. They just hope to keep doing so as they head off on their longest road trip of the season.
Coming off a lackluster effort, the Devils hope a matchup in Los Angeles against the Kings will give them a boost as they kick off a six-game trek Saturday night.
New Jersey has lost three of its last five at home, getting shut out in each of those defeats. The worst of those losses came Thursday night, falling 4-0 to a woeful Atlanta team which hadn't posted a shutout all season.
Coach Brent Sutter had trouble coming up with positives from that game, admitting it was New Jersey's poorest performance of the season. His team now looks to avoid losing three straight for the first time since a four-game skid from Nov. 8-14.
The Devils will be on the road for the next 10 days as they try to work through their problems. They won't be back home until Jan. 21 against Montreal, then will play two more games on the road.
"It may be the best thing for us," Sutter said of New Jersey's run of games on the road. "I trust this group, I've said this before. We've had a bump in the road here that we're going to deal with."
Staples Center seems to be a good place for the Devils to start. They are 3-0-2 on the road against Los Angeles (17-17-6) since a 4-1 loss on Nov. 29, 1997.
New Jersey, though, has lost two straight on the road, managing just two goals in both contests, and the Kings have allowed 11 goals in their last seven games behind impressive play from rookie goaltender Jonathan Quick.
The Devils are in desperate need of a boost from All-Star winger Zach Parise, who has been held off the scoresheet in his last three games. Parise, who has a team-high 22 goals and is tied with Patrik Elias for the team lead with 46 points, has not tallied a point in two career games versus Los Angeles.
New Jersey goalie Scott Clemmensen has been struggling as well, allowing three goals in each of his last three starts. He was yanked against Atlanta after facing 19 shots through two periods.
Quick also gave up three goals in his last game, but Los Angeles beat Anaheim 4-3 on Thursday night. Quick had given up two goals or fewer in each of his previous five starts, and has a 1.78 goals-against average in eight games since being called up from Manchester of the AHL on Dec. 16.
Los Angeles scored a total of three goals in its previous three games before breaking out Thursday, when Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown each had a goal and an assist. Kings rookie Wayne Simmonds also scored.
Brown's goal came a day after he was named a Western Conference All-Star. He failed to register a point in his previous six games.
Kings rookie center Oscar Moller, who helped Sweden win a silver medal in the world junior championship, was scratched because of a fractured clavicle that didn't prevent him from playing in Monday night's title game. He's out indefinitely.
New Jersey beat Los Angeles 6-3 at home on Feb. 2 in the teams' only meeting of 2007-08.