Two teams with similar records, but lately headed in opposite directions, meet on Tuesday night when the New Jersey Devils host the Los Angeles Kings at the Prudential Center.
The Devils (20-19-9) are coming off a rousing 4-1 road victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, their fourth win in the past five games. New Jersey's recent success after a dreadful 4-9-2 month of December revived the team's playoff hopes.
In contrast, the Kings (22-21-4) have lost four games in a row, including a 3-2 defeat to the Rangers in New York on Monday. The four-game losing streak is Los Angeles' longest this season following a pair of earlier three-game skids.
Struggling mightily offensively, the Kings have scored only six goals over the past four games. On Monday, they never held a lead, and their star players remained in scoring droughts while rugged forwards Jordan Nolan and Kyle Clifford scored the goals.
Kings captain Anze Kopitar has just one goal in his past 18 games and only four goals and 25 points in 41 games the entire season. He heads a long list of struggling forwards on the Kings roster, with Jeff Carter (24 goals) and Tanner Pearson (14 goals) the notable exceptions.
"That's been our theme this year," Nolan told the team's website. "We get a lot of good opportunities, but we just can't find a way to put it in. Sooner or later, we've got to find a way or it's going to be too late and we'll be out of the playoffs." << Read more...
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