Following a slow start to the season, Montreal has bounced back to go 4-1-1 in their last six games. The Canadiens enter the weekend with 19 points in 16 games, which ties them for fourth place in the Atlantic Division standings and sixth overall in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Kings have lost six of their last seven games and have compiled a Western Conference-low 11 points in 16 games. Can the Canadiens continue their recent run of success at home versus Los Angeles on Saturday night?
Kings likely to make Toffoli availableThe Kings notched a point but dropped their second straight game on Thursday night, losing on the road 3-2 in overtime to the Ottawa Senators. Tyler Toffoli sent the game into overtime with a game-tying goal with just eight seconds remaining in regulation and Dustin Brown also scored for the Kings, who dropped to 5-10-1 on the season. Jack Campbell stopped 30 of the 33 shots sent his way, but it wasn’t enough for the Kings, who are now 1-5-1 over their last seven contests.
Speaking of Toffoli, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun recently reported that the young forward is no longer in the Kings’ long-term plans. Toffoli is just 27-years-old, but the Kings appear headed for an all-out rebuild and he is among several players that could be made available at the February 24 trade deadline. As a former 30-goal scorer, he could attract some attention from a team desperate for a potential top-six or top-nine forward.
Jonathan Quick is expected to tend to the twine for the Kings in Montreal on Saturday. The veteran is just 2-7-0 in nine starts with a disappointing 4.40 GAA and .859 save percentage. After showing signs of life with back-to-back wins, Quick has since lost four straight starts while posting a .872 save percentage during that span. The 33-year-old lost his only start versus Montreal last season after allowing three goals on 24 shots.
Price helps Canadiens earn a point vs. FlyersMontreal lost for the second time in three games on Thursday night, falling short 32 in overtime versus the Philadelphia Flyers. Carey Price singlehandedly kept the Canadiens in the game, making 40 stops to help the team salvage a point despite being outshot 43 to 24 on the night. There were some bright spots though. Ben Chiarot and Shea Weber each scored a goal and Montreal managed to kill off all six of the Flyers’ power-play opportunities in the loss.
Carey Price stops Carsen Twarynski on the penalty shot.— Here's Your Replay ⬇️ (@HeresYourReplay) November 8, 2019
Special teams remain a major problem for the Canadiens, who were expected to contend for a postseason spot this year. If they are going to do that, Montreal will surely have to find a way to improve a penalty-killing unit that has fended off just 72.5 percent of their total penalties for the season, which ranks 28th in the NHL. Last year, it was the power play that ultimately doomed Montreal, but they’ve made strides in that department, converting on 20.0 percent of their opportunities with the man advantage (15th in the NHL) so far this season.
Price will be back between the pipes for the Canadiens versus the Kings on Saturday. The 32-year-old is 7-4-2 with a 2.77 GAA and .912 save percentage in 13 starts. Price made two starts against the Kings last season, going 1-1-0 despite posting a 2.00 GAA and .929 save percentage in those matchups.
- Kings are 0-6 in their last 6 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Kings are 22-56 in their last 78 games as an underdog.
- Kings are 26-62 in their last 88 overall.