Preview: Los Angeles at Pittsburgh
When: 7:00 PM ET, Friday, December 11, 2015
Where: Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The red-hot Los Angeles Kings vie for their sixth consecutive victory on Friday when they play the second contest of a six-game road trip against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pacific Division-leading Kings won four straight – including a 5-3 decision over Pittsburgh on Saturday – before posting a 3-2 overtime triumph over Columbus three days later.
Milan Lucic played a role in both victories, scoring twice versus the Penguins before adding an assist on Jeff Carter’s tying goal late in the third period versus the Blue Jackets. While Los Angeles is 6-0-1 in its last seven, its mettle will be tested by playing nine of 10 on the road. Pittsburgh just returned with its suitcases after salvaging a split of its four-game road trip (2-2-0) with a 4-2 victory over Colorado on Wednesday. Beau Bennett, who played parts of two seasons at the University of Denver, burned the Avalanche with his first career two-goal performance to increase his point total to four in as many games.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), ROOT (Pittsburgh)
ABOUT THE KINGS (18-8-1): Former Penguins defenseman Christian Ehrhoff struggled to stay healthy during his lone season in the Steel City, but that hasn’t been the case in sunny Los Angeles. The 33-year-old German has competed in 23 of the team’s 27 contests and even contributed offensively of late by scoring against Pittsburgh on Saturday and again versus Columbus. Speaking of blue-liners, Jake Muzzin recorded a goal and two assists in the previous meeting with the Penguins.
ABOUT THE PENGUINS (15-10-2): Chris Kunitz set up a tally on Wednesday to cap his seven-point road trip, which includes a one-goal, two-assist performance against the Kings. Captain Sidney Crosby notched an assist versus the Avalanche for his 10th point (four goals, six assists) in nine games. Crosby could be in line to continue that pace against the Kings, versus whom he scored and set up a goal on Saturday and has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in eight career encounters.
1. Los Angeles has outshot its foes by a combined 182-106 margin during its winning streak.
2. Pittsburgh has won four of its last five home games in the series.
3. The Kings recalled LW Michael Mersch from Ontario of the American Hockey League. He is expected to make his NHL debut on Friday.
PREDICTION: Penguins 3, Kings 2