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Kings go for eighth straight; Crosby vs. McDavid

by Brian Compton / NHL.com

The Los Angeles Kings got off to a rough start this season, losing their first three games. That has become a distant memory.

The Kings will be seeking their eighth straight victory when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Monday (8:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, SNE, SNO, SNW, FS-W, CSN-CH).

After scoring two goals in their first three games, the Kings offense has come alive over the past two weeks. Los Angeles has outscored its opponents 22-9 over the course of its seven-game winning streak.

"We're playing with a lot of confidence," defenseman Drew Doughty said, according to LA Kings Insider. "Obviously, we can't let it get too far up into our heads, because when we're playing confident like this and at the same time still trying to do all the right things, we're winning games, and we need to continue winning."

Chicago (6-5-0) will be looking to avoid a three-game losing streak. The Blackhawks, who are in sixth place in the Central Division, could be without forward Marian Hossa. He is questionable because of a lower-body injury sustained during a 5-4 loss at the Minnesota Wild on Friday.

Here are other games that should garner plenty of attention:

Tuesday, Nov. 3 -- Washington Capitals at New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, CSN-DC, MSG): It's the first game between the Capitals and Rangers since the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when Derek Stepan scored in overtime of Game 7 to send New York to the Eastern Conference Final. The teams enter the game tied for first place in the Metropolitan Division with 16 points apiece.

Wednesday, Nov. 4 -- Florida Panthers at Anaheim Ducks (10:30 p.m. ET; FS-F, FS-W): The Ducks found some offense Sunday when they scored three goals in the first period in a 4-2 win against the Nashville Predators at Honda Center. Eleven games into the season, Rickard Rakell leads Anaheim with four points (two goals, two assists). Florida was 5-4-2 in the first month of the season and trails the Boston Bruins by one point for second place in the Atlantic Division.

Thursday, Nov. 5 -- Nashville Predators at Minnesota Wild (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, FS-N, FS-WI): As expected, the Predators find themselves in a heated race in the Central Division, with the Wild being one of the teams they will battle all season long for playoff seeding. Minnesota is 5-0-0 at Xcel Energy Center.

Friday, Nov. 6 -- Detroit Red Wings at Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, FS-D, TSN4): Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock faces his former team for the second time this season after Detroit earned a 4-0 victory at Joe Louis Arena on Oct. 9. Toronto has not won at home (0-3-1) and has allowed 33 goals in 10 games.

Friday, Nov. 6 -- Pittsburgh Penguins at Edmonton Oilers (9 p.m. ET; SN, ROOT): It's Penguins center Sidney Crosby vs. Oilers center Connor McDavid for the first time when these teams face each other at Rexall Place. McDavid, the No. 1 pick at the 2015 NHL Draft, has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in as many games.

Saturday, Nov. 7 -- Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVA Sports, SN, NESN): One the best rivalries in all of sports resumes at Bell Centre, where the Canadiens are 5-0-0. The Bruins were one of the surprise teams in the League in October, going 6-3-1.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks -- Pavelski continues to be a point-producing machine in San Jose; he extended his point streak to five games with his sixth goal Sunday. He has 10 points in 11 games.

Tomas Fleischmann, Montreal Canadiens -- He doesn't get much of the publicity due to the plethora of elite players in Montreal, but Fleishmann has been solid this season. The 31-year-old has five points in his past two games, including two goals and an assist in a 5-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday.

Antti Niemi, Dallas Stars -- Niemi is beginning to regain the form that helped him win 39 games for the Sharks in 2013-14. He has six wins in eight games and has a 2.61 goals-against average and .915 save percentage.

LINE CHANGES

Artemi Panarin, Chicago Blackhawks -- With forward Marian Hossa potentially sidelined because of a lower-body injury, Panarin has been moved up to the top line with Jonathan Toews and Ryan Garbutt. Panarin, a rookie, has 10 points (two goals) in 11 games.

"Over the course of a season, we envisioned [Toews] and him playing together at some point," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "Hopefully, that can work. We haven't seen any other lines score all year. Hopefully, we can share the wealth on the production side of thing. Hopefully, we can become more balanced in our scoring."

Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning -- Johnson was back centering the "Triplets" line between Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov on Saturday against the Boston Bruins; he did not practice Friday for what the Lightning called "body maintenance." Johnson, who had 72 points last season, scored his first goal of the season Sunday.

Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers -- The 20-year-old has been outstanding since being promoted from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League last week; he has three goals, two assists and a plus-3 rating in his first two games with the Oilers this season. Draisaitl is skating with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall.

POINT SHOTS

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green (injury) could begin practicing this week and return to the lineup by the weekend, according to the Detroit Free Press. … St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock on Vladimir Tarasenko, who missed the game Saturday against the Minnesota Wild because of a leg injury: "He's out for the month of October. When November turns, we'll let you know on that one." … The Calgary Flames had their first two-goal lead of the season Saturday in Edmonton. But the Flames needed a goal by Michael Frolik with 8.7 seconds left to win the game.

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