Six years after meeting in the Stanley Cup Finals, the last-place teams in both conferences will get together Thursday night when the Los Angeles Kings host the New Jersey Devils at Staples Center.
The Kings (10-17-1) have already fired John Stevens as head coach and replaced him with Willie Desjardins, but he hasn't turned things around either. Stevens was let go on Nov. 4 after the Kings went 4-8-1 to start the season. They've gone 6-9-0 under Desjardins and have yet to win three in a row under either coach.
The Devils (9-12-5) are 0-3-3 over the past six games to fall to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
New Jersey coach John Hynes resorted to benching leading scorer Taylor Hall for nearly eight minutes late in the second period of a 5-1 loss to the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night after Hall's turnover in his own zone led to the fourth goal by the Lightning.
"Sometimes, you've got to take your lumps and try and come back and play better," Hall told reporters afterward.
Hynes wouldn't commit to a starting goalie against the Kings.
Keith Kinkaid allowed four goals on 20 shots against Tampa Bay before he was replaced by Cory Schneider to start the third period.
Kincaid is still second in the NHL with three shutouts, but has allowed four goals in each of his past five outings for an .872 save percentage. He posted his only shutout last season against the Kings at Staples Center on March 17.
Schneider, who the Kings got to know well when he played for the Vancouver Canucks from 2008-13, is 0-5-0 in five starts this season with a 4.19 goals-against average and .862 save percentage.
The Devils are expected to have winger Jesper Bratt back in the lineup after he missed the Tampa Bay game with an illness. Bratt, who missed the first 13 games with a broken jaw, has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 12 games.
New Jersey entered Wednesday ninth in the NHL with an 82 percent penalty-kill rate, and the Devils will be up against a Los Angeles team that's 4-for-37 on the power play over its past 14 games. >> Read More
Copyright 2018 by the Associated Press