After snapping skid, Senators visit Kings
With their losing streak finally vanquished, the Ottawa Senators will look to create a streak of a different kind when they play their second game in two nights in Southern California on Thursday.
One day after a 2-1 overtime victory over the Anaheim Ducks that ended an eight-game skid, the Senators will look for two consecutive in the win column as they face the Los Angeles Kings. The game will be a battle of teams toward the bottom of their conferences.
The Senators moved out of last place in the Eastern Conference with their victory Wednesday. Their 37 points are one better than the Philadelphia Flyers, while their minus-35 goal differential is also second worst in the entire NHL to the Flyers.
The Kings are sitting at rock bottom in the Western Conference with 37 points, one worse that the St. Louis Blues. Los Angeles' minus-31 goal differential ranks 28th in the 31-team league.
The Senators were showing signs of life even before their victory in Anaheim. Ottawa scored at least three goals in each of its last four defeats, good for a 3.25 goals-per-game average in that stretch.
Ottawa's last defeat came Sunday in a 5-4 duel against a Carolina Hurricanes team that has started to escape its own doldrums of late.
"We know the situation we're in," Senators coach Guy Boucher said, according to the Ottawa Citizen. "It's a rebuild that we're in, with key injuries that have been tough for us. At the same time, it has given some guys room to grow."
While the Senators finally figured out a winning formula, the Kings have actually been a bit better lately, earning 12 points over their past 10 games. However, they are 1-3-0 in the new year, with only a 4-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers at home on Saturday to show for their January troubles.
The Kings enter Wednesday game coming off a 3-1 defeat Monday at San Jose. Los Angeles also endured a humbling 6-2 defeat at home last week against the Tampa Bay Lightning, far and away the NHL's top team.
The Kings have scored more than two goals in regulation just once in their past seven games.
"We can't rely on our goalies to give up one or two goals every game and expect to win hockey games," All-Star defenseman Drew Doughty said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "That's the bottom line. It's a '3-2' league. We need two or three goals every night to win."
Center Jean-Gabriel Pageau returned to the Senators on Sunday after missing the entire season to that point because of an Achilles injury sustained in training camp. He played 13 minutes Sunday, and even scored a goal, then increased his workload to 18 minutes Wednesday.
Ottawa goaltender Anders Nilsson, acquired in a Jan. 2 trade with the Vancouver Canucks, earned his first victory with his new team Wednesday when he made 32 saves.
Senators center Matt Duchene will not play Thursday as he remains in Ottawa following the birth of his first child on Wednesday. The Senators have three players who are day-to-day due to injuries: defenseman Thomas Chabot (upper body), goaltender Craig Anderson (concussion) and defenseman Justin Falk (concussion).
The Kings have three payers on the injured list: right winger Jonny Brodzinski (shoulder), defenseman Alec Martinez (upper body) and center Trevor Lewis (foot).
--Field Level Media
Updated January 10, 2019