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Preview (Kings @ Penguins): Maintaining territory among giants

The Kings are on a joyride of Jonathan Quick’s sudden resurgence.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Los Angeles Kings Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

How to Watch

Game Time: 4 p.m. Pacific Time

TV: Fox Sports West

Radio: iHeart Radio

The Opposition: PensBurgh

What to Watch

A win over neighborhood rival Ducks on Thursday has the Los Angeles brigade in a better mood than Ice Cube on a good day, but the Kings find themselves in midst of a six-game road trip that continues in the Steel City against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday afternoon.

The 2-1 win in Anaheim not only provided Matt Luff with his first goal of the season; it snapped an 11-game losing streak on the road where the goal differential was -25.

While goal production struggles continue, Jonathan Quick has rediscovered his mojo in the past two games, prompting the team to have a win streak on a pair of games where he allowed one goal in each contest.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst product is experiencing a good start to the first half of December, stopping 94.4% of shots faced while giving up 1.50 goals per game.

On defense, while he may not always have the goals to show for it, good things happen when Matt Roy hops over the boards, tallying four points in his last three contests.

Despite averaging 32 seconds less ice time now than last season, Roy’s Corsi For % has grown by nearly 10% in 2019-20 (54.3%)

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the LA Kings’ special teams have been horrendous. Tasking them to have them excel at this part of the game is like asking your pet rock to swim with you even when knowing for certain that is improbable.

It may take a conversion or two on the power play to come out victorious against a Penguins group that has the fewest penalty minutes in the league (211). Especially against a team that has developed a reputation of being a slow starter in the absence of Sidney Crosby who has missed half of the season to recover from his sports hernia surgery.

With the injury bug keeping Crosby hostage while a illness sidelined Evgeni Malkin for this past Thursday’s match against Columbus and for the coming days, Jake Guentzel has stepped up to task of being the next man up.

The 25-year-old center finds himself on the top line and is allowing a point per game pace unlock the key to be the team’s top offensive producer with 33 points (17 goals).

While the Pittsburgh Penguins are sitting pretty with the top wild card spot in the East, it hasn’t been all fine and dandy for Matt Murray this year.

Outperforming fan favourite Marc-Andre Fleury to get the No. 1 goaltender spot in 2017, Murray seems to be facing his first real test of adversity after capturing back-to-back Stanley Cups in his first two years as a pro.

Not only has he failed to meet the .900 save % threshold for the first time in his career; backup Tristan Jarry is stealing the spotlight with an NHL-best mark in both save % (.941) and GAA (1.76).

Lineups

Los Angeles Kings

Iafallo — Kopitar — Brown
Clifford — Carter — Lewis
Kempe — Lizotte — Wagner
Toffoli — Amadio — Luff

Ryan — Doughty
Hutton — Roy
MacDermid — Walker

Quick

Pittsburgh Penguins

Galchenyuk — Guentzel — Rust
Aston-Reese — McCann — Kahun
Simon — Blueger — Tanev
Blandisi — Lafferty — Noesen

Letang — Marino
Johnson — Schultz
Petterrson — Ruhwedel

Murray