Ottawa Senators (9-10-6 SU, 9-16 PL, 14-11 O/U) vs. Los Angeles Kings (18-8-3 SU, 16-13 PL, 11-16-2 O/U)
NCAAB: Thursday, December 7, 2017 at 10:30 p.m. EST
The Ottawa Senators will be playing the second game of a back-to-back situation when they visit the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center on Thursday night. Ottawa had lost eight of its last nine contests heading into a road date with Anaheim on Wednesday. The Kings have won six in a row after most recently defeating Minnesota on Tuesday.
The Senators have not been good on the road of late, but they really have not been good anywhere this season despite the promise of a 2016-17 campaign in which they came within one game of the Stanley Cup Finals. Ottawa is now in the midst of the California section of its second-game road trip, on which it has compiled a 1-2 overall record so far. The Senators have dropped five of their last six contests away from home after getting blanked by Winnipeg 5-0 this past Sunday. The setback dropped Ottawa to 1-7-1 overall since completing a sweep of Colorado on Nov. 11 in Stockholm.
Captain Erik Karlsson has been kept out of the box score in nine consecutive games since a hot stretch in which he produced 17 points in the span of 10 contests. The defenseman has reached double-digits in goals in each of his last six full seasons but has scored only once during his first 20 games this season. Mark Stone leads the Senators in goals (14) and points (25) and had recorded at least one point in five straight outings prior to Sunday’s loss. Center Derick Brassard is one point short of 400 in his career, while forward Alex Burrows needs one assist to reach 200.
The Kings have rebounded from a dreadful stretch (1-6-1) with six consecutive victories. Their staple has always been defense, and goalie Jonathan Quick has always been the leader in that effort. Quick is on fire right now, with a 5-0 record, a 1.4 goals-against average, and .944 save percentage in his last five outings. He stopped 24 shots in last weekend’s 3-1 win over Chicago. Los Angeles boasts the NHL’s top-ranked penalty kill (89.6 percent) while denying 16 of 17 opponents’ opportunities with the man advantage during this current winning streak.
On the offensive end, center Anze Kopitar has been in fine form. The captain has three goals and three assists in his last three games, and also six goals and four assists in his last seven games. Forward Dustin Brown has scored three goals during this six-game surge, giving him 11 goals already this season after lighting the lamp only 14 times in total throughout 80 games of the 2016-17 campaign. Brown also has assists in each of his last two contests.
The Ottawa Senators are:
- 1-8 in their last nine overall
- 1-5 in their last six road games
- 2-5 in their last seven games against the Western Conference
The Los Angeles Kings are:
- 6-0 in their last six overall
- 12-3 in their last 15 games against the Eastern Conference
- 9-4 in their last 13 games against teams with winning percentages under .400
Quick is looking like the best goalie in the NHL right now. Throw the offensive run currently being made by Kopitar and Brown and Los Angeles is dangerous in all facets right now. The Senators have scored no more than two goals in all but one of their last nine games, including in all of their last eight losses. Playing the second game in two nights will not help their chances for an upset. Ottawa is 1-8 in its last nine overall, 1-5 in its last six on the road, 1-4 in its last five on the road against opponents with winning home records, 2-5 in its last seven against the Western Conference, and 0-4 in its last four against the Pacific Division. The Kings are 6-0 in their last six overall, 12-3 in their last 15 against the Eastern Conference, 9-4 in their last 13 against opponents with winning percentages over .400, 14-6-1 in the last 21 meetings between the two teams, and 7-2 in their last nine home games against the Senators. Count on those trends continuing.