Los Angeles Kings (7-1-1 SU, 7-2 PL, 4-4-1 O/U) vs. Montreal Canadiens (2-6-1 SU, 1-8 PL, 6-2-1 O/U)
NHL: Thursday, October 26, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. EST
The Line: Montreal Canadiens -125/Los Angeles Kings +105. Total: 5.5.
The Montreal Canadiens are coming off their first regulation win of the season as they head into a home date with the Los Angeles Kings at the Centre Bell on Thursday night. Montreal had lost seven games in a row before beating Florida on Tuesday. The Kings recently bounced back from their first regulation loss of the 2017-18 campaign with a victory over Ottawa.
Los Angeles leads the league in goals allowed per game at 2.11. The team once again impressed on the defensive end in a 3-2 shootout defeat of Ottawa on Tuesday, while Adrian Kempe scored for the second straight game and also found the back of the net during the shootout. Kempe’s goals the last two games tied him for second on the team with Dustin Brown at five, while captain Anze Kopitar leads the way with six. Alec Martinez notched his first goal to give Los Angeles six from its defensemen this season (Drew Doughty has three and Jake Muzzin two).
“We weren’t happy with the result we had (on Monday),” Kempe reflected. “We just wanted to try and bounce back today, and I think we played a good game, and we got the result we wanted.”
Futile streak ends
The Canadiens breathed a collective sigh of relief after ending a seven-game losing streak last time out and look to string two wins together for the first time this season. Montreal fell behind by a goal on Tuesday against Florida before rallying for a 5-1 victory to end its longest losing streak since dropping nine in a row in 1939-40.
“It’s a step in the right direction, but we can’t step back,” defenseman Shea Weber noted. “We’ve got to keep our foot on the gas and we’ve got to keep getting better.”
The Habs’ five goals were a season-high after managing 12 in the first eight games. Their power play, which was 2-for-26 in the first seven games, has begun to wake up after converting twice on four opportunities against Florida and three times the last two contests. Jonathan Drouin notched a pair of assists on Tuesday to push his team-leading total to seven points. Captain Max Pacioretty, who leads the team with 35 shots, scored his second of the season.
The Los Angeles Kings are:
- 5-1 in their last six overall
- 5-2 in their last seven road games
- 6-2 in their last eight games against teams with losing records
The Montreal Canadiens are:
- 1-7 in their last eight overall
- 2-5 in their last seven home games
- 0-4 in their last four games against the Western Conference
Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick (5-1-1, .934 save percentage, 2.15 goals-against average), who stopped 36 of 37 shots in an Oct. 18 win over Montreal, sat out Tuesday’s win in favor of backup Darcy Kuemper. Quick is expected back on Thursday for his 500th career game. Los Angeles is 5-1 in its last six overall, 5-2 in its last seven on the road, 6-2 in its last eight against losing opponents, 4-0 in its last four on the road against opponents with home winning percentages under .400, 6-1 in its last seven against the Eastern Conference, and 5-1 in its last six against the Atlantic Division. The Canadiens are 1-7 in their last eight overall, 2-5 in their last seven at home, 0-4 in their last four against the Western Conference, and 1-4 in their last five against the Pacific Division. Expect those trends to continue.