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Penguins at Kings preview

Pittsburgh goes for fifth win in six games; Los Angeles has lost four straight

by Dan Greenspan / Correspondent

PENGUINS (24-20-3) at KINGS (24-15-5)

10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, ATTSN-PT, SN360, NHL.TV


The Game

The Los Angeles Kings will try to break their four-game losing streak when they host Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Staples Center on Thursday.

The Penguins had their four-game win streak ended with a 5-3 loss at the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday. Crosby had two assists, giving him 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) during a five-game point streak. His next goal will be his 400th in the NHL.

The Kings hope to capitalize on a reprieve from Pacific Division play, having dropped three games to division opponents during their losing streak, including a 4-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Monday. Los Angeles is 5-7-3 against Pacific Division teams, but is 15-5-1 against the Eastern Conference.


Players to watch

Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry  will start the second game of a back-to-back for the second time in his career. Jarry allowed one goal on 67 shots in wins against the Buffalo Sabres on Dec. 1-2.

Kings forward Trevor Lewis scored the only goal against San Jose; he has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past six games.


They said it

"It's hard to score every time you go out. We were 2-for-4. It's unfortunate we gave up the shorthanded goal. That was one of those instances where I thought we could have done a better job just taking care of the puck." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan on the team's power play

"You look at Pittsburgh analytically, they're in the top two or three in every category you can find offensively: zone time, rush attack, chances from the slot. It reinforces the need for commitment from everybody to be on the right side of the puck all the time." -- Kings coach John Stevens


Penguins projected lineup

Dominik Simon -- Sidney Crosby -- Daniel Sprong

Carl Hagelin -- Evgeni Malkin -- Patric Hornqvist

Conor Sheary -- Jake Guentzel -- Phil Kessel

Tom Kuhnhackl -- Riley Sheahan -- Ryan Reaves

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Olli Maatta -- Justin Schultz

Matt Hunwick -- Jamie Oleksiak

Tristan Jarry

Casey DeSmith

Scratched: Ian Cole, Matt Murray, Jean-Sebastien Dea

Injured: Carter Rowney (upper body), Chad Ruhwedel (upper body), Bryan Rust (upper body)


Kings projected lineup

Adrian Kempe -- Anze Kopitar -- Dustin Brown

Tanner Pearson -- Trevor Lewis -- Tyler Toffoli

Alex Iafallo -- Nick Shore -- Marian Gaborik

Kyle Clifford -- Michael Amadio -- Jonny Brodzinski

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Alec Martinez

Kevin Gravel -- Christian Folin

Jonathan Quick

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Andy Andreoff, Paul LaDue, Torrey Mitchell

Injured: Jeff Carter (lower body)


Status report

Murray left the Penguins on Wednesday to be with his family in Thunder Bay, Ontario, after the death of his father. … Muzzin returns after missing three games with an upper-body injury.


Stat pack

The Penguins are 4-4-2 in the second of back-to-back games, but 4-0-0 in their past four. … The Kings have won four straight against the Penguins, with the past three coming in overtime or a shootout.

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