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Penguins go for 8 in a row on road at Los Angeles

by Dave Lozo /

PENGUINS (12-3-0) at KINGS (9-4-2)

Last 10 -- Penguins 8-2-0; Kings 5-3-2

Season series -- This will be the one and only meeting between the teams during the regular season. The Penguins have taken all three meetings from the Kings since 2005-06.

Big story -- The Penguins are trying to extend their perfection away from home and improve to 8-0-0 on the road. They also won in California for just the second time since 1999 when they beat Anaheim 4-3 on Tuesday. The upstart Kings would like to send a message to the rest of the League by beating the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Team Scope:

Penguins -- The Penguins are trying to adjust to life without injured stars Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar -- and so far so good. They are 4-2-0 since Gonchar went down with an injured wrist and Malkin followed a few games later with a shoulder problem.

"We're just trying to do our best, and we're adjusting to new things," captain Sidney Crosby said. "I think that it's difficult when you lose two guys (Malkin and Gonchar) like we've lost. We've just got to adjust and find ways to be successful."

One player who is adjusting just fine is goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who hasn't missed a beat in allowing 12 goals in his last five games.

Kings -- It's not surprising to read about the League's leading scorer when the Penguins are involved in a game. Crosby and Malkin both have won the Hart Trophy, but on this night, the leading scorer in the NHL is wearing a Kings jersey in the form of Anze Kopitar.

"It's really nice and something I'm really proud of, but this is Game 12," he told the L.A. Times earlier this season. "After 70 more games, we'll see where I'll be."

The Slovenian center has played 15 games, and his 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) continue to lead the League.

Who's hot -- Penguins left wing Pascal Dupuis has just three goals this season, but he has two in his last two games. For the Kings, Ryan Smyth is coming off a two-goal, four-point night against the Coyotes in his last game.

Injury report -- Besides Gonchar and Malkin, Maxime Talbot is also still recovering from offseason surgery on his shoulder. Kings left wing Richard Clune (groin) and defenseman Alec Martinez (lower-body) will not play.

Stat pack -- Fleury is 2-1-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average in three career starts against the Kings. However, he has a 3.44 GAA in his six road starts this season. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty has a six-game point-scoring streak (1 goal, 6 assists).

Puck drop -- Tonight marks the first meeting between Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi and the team he helped to win a Stanley Cup last season.
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