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Kings hope to reverse road fortunes in Detroit

by Eric Goodman /
KINGS (16-10-1) at RED WINGS (19-6-3)


Last 10 -- Los Angeles 4-5-1; Detroit 6-3-1.

Season series -- This is the second of four games between these clubs. The Kings took the first game of the 2010-11 season series with a 3-2 overtime win at Staples Center back on Dec. 4. Anze Kopitar notched a goal and an assist for the Kings, including the game-winning tally in the extra period.

Big Story -- The Kings have dropped three road games in a row, so they hope to turn their fortunes around with a visit to Joe Louis Arena. L.A. had aqcuired forward Marco Sturm from Boston for future considerations on Saturday, but the left wing is expected to be in California on Monday where he is required to pass a physical before joing the team. Meanwhile, the Western Conference-leading Red Wings have won their last two games overall and hope to keep things moving in the right direction as they open a brief two-game homestand Monday.

Team Scope:
Kings -- While Los Angeles boasts one of the best records at home this season at 11-2-1, it has not fared as well on the road. The Kings had won the first three games of their recent four-game homestand, but dropped the final contest with a 3-2 overtime defeat to Minnesota on Saturday. However, the Kings record on the road this season is a below-average 5-8-0 and they last managed a regulation win away from Staples Center back on Oct. 28 with a 5-2 victory at the Dallas Stars. Their last overall road win was a 3-2 shootout victory at Boston on Nov. 20.

Red Wings -- Detroit continues to rack up wins while rolling out one of the oldest lineups in the NHL. While it remains to be seen how this roster of mostly mid to late 30-somethings captained by 40-year old defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom will last, there hasn't been many reasons to doubt the Wings so far this season.

The Red Wings' continued their positive play on Saturday with a convincing 4-1 win at the struggling New Jersey Devils. 37-year old Thomas Holstrom tallied a goal in that game, while 38-year old backup goalie Chris Osgood earned his third victory of the season by turning aside 33 of 34 shots on goal.

Who's Hot -- Kings goalie Jonathan Quick hasn't lost in regulation since Nov. 29. The former UMass-Amherst Minuteman is 3-0-1 with a 2.00 goals-against average in his last four games. For Detroit, center Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and two assists and was a plus-3 on Saturday at New Jersey. The Russian is also in the midst of a three-game points streak, totaling three goals, four asssits and earning a plus-6 rating over that span.

Injury Report -- The Kings are fairly healthy and even injured defenseman Willie Mitchell (broken finger) could be cleared to play at Detroit after being sidelined since Nov. 6...Mike Modano remains on injured reserve for Detroit following right wrist surgery.

Stat Pack -- According to the current rosters on the clubs' official web sites for both the Red Wings and Kings, Detroit's average age is 31 as compared to Los Angeles' 26.

Puck Drop -- When you are an up and coming squad like the Kings, it's important that your younger players don't get too down after a loss. The mark of a good team is its ability to own up to mistakes and maintain a commitment toward continued improvment. Los Angeles definitely appears in good hands as Quick shouldered the blame for Saturday's overtime defeat.

"I take responsibility for the loss,'' Quick said. "I've just got to be better. I can't make those mistakes. Those can't happen. When you spot a team two goals, it's tough to get two points out of it."

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