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Preview: Kings at Hurricanes

Los Angeles looks to gain ground in Western Conference standings; Carolina aims to end four-game losing streak

by Kurt Dusterberg / Correspondent

KINGS (23-21-4) at HURRICANES (21-19-7)

7 p.m. ET; FS-W, FS-SC, NHL.TV


Kings team scope

The Los Angeles Kings play their final game before the All-Star break trailing the Vancouver Canucks by two points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. "We've got a lot of work to do," defenseman Brayden McNabb said. "We're out of [playoff position] right now, and tonight we've got to take care of Carolina. You want to end on a positive note and enjoy the break but it's going to be a competitive game. Both teams are fighting for a playoff spot." Goaltender Peter Budaj will start for the Kings, who ended a four-game losing streak with a 3-1 win against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. Forward Nic Dowd, who has missed two games because of a lower-body injury, took part in the morning skate. "We were hoping to skate him yesterday and he wasn't ready," coach Darryl Sutter said. "Today he was ready to skate with the group so he's basically a game-time decision." 


Hurricanes team scope

Goalie Cam Ward will start for the Carolina Hurricanes, who are looking to end a four-game losing streak. Carolina has been outscored 20-5 during the streak, suggesting it has improvements to make at both ends of the ice. "Everything needs to be cleaned up," coach Bill Peters said. "There's not one area of our game we're playing at the highest level. All of a sudden the offense dried up and we're still giving up too much quality and quantity. We have to tighten up and check for our chances, and it starts tonight." The Hurricanes are 14-2-1 in their past 17 home games. They defeated the Kings 3-1 at Staples Center on Dec. 8. 


Kings projected lineup

Marian Gaborik -- Anze Kopitar -- Dustin Brown

Tanner Pearson -- Jeff Carter -- Kyle Clifford

Andy Andreoff -- Trevor Lewis -- Devin Setoguchi

Dwight King -- Nick Shore -- Jordan Nolan

Jake Muzzin -- Drew Doughty

Derek Forbort -- Alec Martinez

Brayden McNabb -- Kevin Gravel

Peter Budaj

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Tom Gilbert

Injured: Nic Dowd (lower body), Tyler Toffoli (lower body), Jonathan Quick (groin), Matt Greene (back/groin)


Hurricanes projected lineup 

Jeff Skinner -- Victor Rask -- Derek Ryan 

Sebastian Aho -- Teuvo Teravainen -- Lee Stempniak 

Brock McGinn -- Jordan Staal -- Elias Lindholm 

Joakim Nordstrom -- Jay McClement -- Viktor Stalberg 

Jaccob Slavin -- Brett Pesce 

Ron Hainsey -- Justin Faulk 

Noah Hanifin -- Klas Dahlbeck 

Cam Ward 

Michael Leighton 

Scratched: Matt Tennyson, Ryan Murphy, Ty Rattie 

Injured: Eddie Lack (concussion), Bryan Bickell (illness) 


Status report

Toffoli, who has missed 16 games, participated in the morning skate and put in extra work afterward. "Good to see Tyler out there," Sutter said. "We've got to get him into some full practices."... The Hurricanes held a very limited morning skate with scratches and injured players.


Who's hot

Kopitar has two goals and seven assists in his past eight games. ... Doughty has one goal and three assists in his past three games. ... Aho has two goals and an assist in his past four games.

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