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game preview

Golden Knights at Kings preview

Los Angeles trying for fifth straight win; Vegas has point in eight of past nine games

by Dan Greenspan / NHL.com Correspondent

GOLDEN KNIGHTS (21-15-4) at KINGS (15-20-3)

4 p.m. ET; SN1, SNE, SNO, SNP, FS-W, ASSTR-RM, NHL.TV

 

The Game

The Los Angeles Kings will try for their fifth straight win when they host the Vegas Golden Knights at Staples Center on Saturday.

The Kings defeated the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on Thursday to extend their longest winning streak of the season. Los Angeles has earned at least one point in five consecutive games (4-0-1) and seven of its past nine (5-2-2).

The Golden Knights defeated the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 on Thursday and have earned a point in eight of their past nine games (5-1-3).

The Kings have won the first two games in the season series against the Golden Knights. Los Angeles won 5-1 at home on Dec. 8 and 4-3 in overtime at Vegas on Sunday.

 

Players to watch

Golden Knights forward Brandon Pirri has five points (four goals, one assist) in four games since being called up from Chicago of the American Hockey League on Dec. 19.

Kings center Anze Kopitar has four assists in his past five games. Kopitar, who needs two goals for 300 in the NHL, has scored once in his past 15 games.

 

They said it

"He's doing exactly what we expected from him. Nobody expected him to score four goals in, what, three games or whatever it's been, but he's coming up and taking advantage of an opportunity and we really like what he's doing." -- Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said of forward Brandon Pirri

 

"The last couple games we don't feel like we're too out of it if we get down or a bad bounce or something like that. We're still right there, we can push back, so hopefully keep this momentum rolling against another good test in Vegas again." -- Kings forward Brendan Leipsic

 

Golden Knights projected lineup

Jonathan Marchessault -- William Karlsson -- Reilly Smith  

Brandon Pirri -- Paul Stastny -- Alex Tuch

William Carrier -- Cody Eakin -- Ryan Carpenter   

Tomas Nosek -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Ryan Reaves  

Brayden McNabb -- Nate Schmidt 

Shea Theodore -- Deryk Engelland  

Jon Merrill -- Nick Holden

Marc-Andre Fleury

Malcolm Subban

Scratched: Oscar Lindberg, Brad Hunt

Injured: Max Pacioretty (undisclosed), Colin Miller (undisclosed), Erik Haula (lower body)

 

Kings projected lineup

Alex Iafallo -- Anze Kopitar -- Dustin Brown   

Adrian Kempe -- Jeff Carter -- Tyler Toffoli  

Kyle Clifford -- Michael Amadio -- Matt Luff

Ilya Kovalchuk -- Nate Thompson -- Brendan Leipsic  

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Sean Walker 

Oscar Fantenberg -- Dion Phaneuf  

Jonathan Quick

Cal Petersen

Scratched: Paul LaDue, Nikita Scherbak, Austin Wagner   

Injured: Alec Martinez (upper body), Dion Phaneuf (upper body), Carl Hagelin (knee), Trevor Lewis (foot), Jack Campbell (knee), Jonny Brodzinski (shoulder)

 

Status report

Phaneuf practiced Thursday on a full-contact basis, but coach Willie Desjardins did not expect him to play against the Golden Knights. … Martinez is "progressing well," Desjardins said, but is not yet participating in on-ice workouts. … Miller did not practice Thursday after missing the past three games. Gallant said Miller would travel with the team and did not know if he would be available to play. 

 

Stat pack

The Kings have allowed one goal in each of their past three home games (3-0-0). … Smith has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his past 11 games. … Doughty has four assists in his past five games.   

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