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Kings try to deny Sabres second straight road win

by Davis Harper
SABRES (3-13-1) at KINGS (9-6-0)


Last 10:
Buffalo 3-7-0; Los Angeles 6-4-0

Season series: This is the first of two meetings, with the second coming in Buffalo on Nov. 12. The Buffalo Sabres and Los Angeles Kings rarely face one another -- their most recent meeting came more than two seasons ago -- though the Sabres are 3-0-1 against the Kings since the 2008-09 season.

Big story: One of these teams is coming off a loss, and the other a win. Can you guess which is which? The answer may surprise you.

The 30th-place Sabres won their third game of the season on Tuesday night, a back-and-forth, 5-4 shootout with the San Jose Sharks at the SAP Center, to start a three-game California road trip. The Kings have been off since Saturday, when their comeback bid against the Nashville Predators came up short in a 4-3 defeat.

Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr will face his former team for the first time since Buffalo traded him to Los Angeles on April 1, 2013, for two second-round draft picks.

Team Scope:

Too often this season, the youthful Sabres have played well but responded poorly when the opposition capitalizes. The Sabres weren't perfect in San Jose, conceding the first goal and ultimately allowing four goals on 51 shots, but when San Jose scored a late equalizer, the Sabres kept battling through overtime before Cody Hodgson won it in the shootout.

"We just wanted to play hockey, play a good, solid [game], the way we want to play. Don't get down on ourselves because, yeah there were some mistakes out there from our side, but don't get down after that. What do we do after the mistakes are made?" veteran defenseman Henrik Tallinder said. "And I thought that was the biggest step in my eyes -- to see what we did after the mistake and I thought we did it like nothing happened and we stood up for ourselves."

Kings: Los Angeles is looking to rebound after suffering its third loss in eight games at Staples Center. Despite outshooting the Predators 38-17, the Kings lacked a killer instinct around the net. That was perhaps a symptom of skating for the first time this season without center Jeff Carter, who is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. Tyler Toffoli started his first game of the season in his place, taking five shots and assisting on Mike Richards' third-period goal in 19:23 of ice time.

Jonathan Quick conceded four goals, including the game-winner by David Legwand late in the third period, on 17 shots. Los Angeles’ slumping penalty kill allowed two more goals; the Kings have surrendered nine in 26 opportunities in their past six games.

Defenseman WIllie Mitchell told LAKingsInsider that the penalty-killers may be trying too hard.

"I know me and [Matt Greene] are guys they look to on that big time," he said Wednesday. "We take a lot of pride in it, too. I think sometimes you can ‘not care too much,’ but sometimes you can press a little too much, and when you press, you start chasing it, and sometimes you’ve just got to settle in and put the work in and have the battle and compete, but also just trust the instincts instead of doing too much chasing. That’s kind of where we’ve reset the dial a bit."

Who's hot: Hodgson has a goal and two assists in Buffalo's past two games. … Anze Kopitar has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his past 10 games for the Kings. Kopitar has two goals and six assists in five career games against the Sabres.

Injury report: Buffalo defenseman Mike Weber (upper body) is on injured reserve. Left wing John Scott is serving a suspension. … In addition to Carter, Kings center Jarret Stoll (upper body) is questionable. Matt Greene sat out Wednesday's practice because he was "banged up," according to coach Darryl Sutter.
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