The Los Angeles Kings will meet with the Montreal Canadiens tonight in their final game of a brief two-game homestand. Los Angeles comes in tonight 3-0 since the Olympic break and unbeaten since February 3. Montreal is also playing to form, grabbing five out of a possible six points since their return, only dropping one in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings.
A couple of the storylines tonight will be the stingy Los Angeles defense against a Canadiens offense on the rise. In their three games back from the ,break Montreal has averaged 3.6 goals per outing, more than one better than their season average. They will be taking it to the league’s top defense in Los Angeles, who carry a 1.6 goals against per game since their return. Over the entire season, the Kings are at the top of the league at 2.03 goals against per game.
It is sure to be Peter Budaj between the pipes for the Canadiens with gold medalist Carey Price still nursing a lower body injury. He is listed as day-to-day. The Kings will look to capitalize on the weaker Budaj, who although experienced and an eight-year NHL veteran, does not have the abilities of perennial starter Price. It should be Jonathan Quick in net for L.A., who currently touts a 0.5 GAA and a 2-0 record since returning from Sochi. The defensive nod goes to Los Angeles for this contest.
With the trade deadline two days away, a lot of these players may be unknowingly playing for their future whether it be with their current squad or another. Not only is there plenty to play for on the individual level, but both teams will look to improve their standings in the playoff picture. The Canadiens currently sit at third in the east with the Kings at sixth in the west. Continued strong play from both sides could see them move up and position themselves favorably for the postseason.