Kings hope to halt six-game skid in matchup with Rangers
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The Los Angeles Kings will try to avoid their longest losing streak in nearly 11 years when they begin a seven-game homestand against the New York Rangers on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.
The Kings (2-7-1) have lost six in a row and haven't led at any point during that streak. Los Angeles hasn't lost seven in a row since an eight-game skid in January 2008.
"Losing in this game is not enjoyable," Kings coach John Stevens told reporters after a 4-1 loss at the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. "We're in this business to win, so at the end of the day, results are two points whether you do good things or don't do good things."
The Rangers (3-6-1) are also looking for improvement after coach David Quinn said they played their worst game of the season on Thursday night in a 4-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, which opened a four-game road trip.
New York was outshot 37-19 and produced just one shot on goal in the third period.
"We've done a good job of skating and competing, but that certainly wasn't the case tonight," Quinn said.
The Kings should get a boost with the return of right winger Dustin Brown, who broke a finger in the final preseason game and has been sidelined since. Brown, who will turn 34 on Nov. 4, scored a career-high 61 points last season and was plus-31 in 81 games.
Brown's offensive abilities couldn't arrive at a better time. The Kings haven't scored more than two goals in each of their past six losses, and haven't led since a 3-0 win on Oct. 11 at the Montreal Canadiens.
"We've just got to bear down offensively, especially in the blue paint, inside the dots," Stevens said. "Those are the areas, I think, that we can come up with some more pucks if we get a few more pucks to the net. You can't play perfect. You can't win 1-0 every night. It's tough to win that way."
The Kings will likely be up against veteran goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, in his 14th NHL season.
Lundqvist has started eight of 10 games this season and owns a 2-5-1 record with a 2.61 goals-against average and .920 save percentage.
Lundqvist has struggled at Staples Center in recent years, however.
He lost all three of his starts in Los Angeles during the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals and the Kings won the series in five games. He has lost both appearances at Staples Center since those Finals as well, giving up seven goals on 66 shots (.894 save percentage).
Rangers defenseman Adam McQuaid left in the first period of the loss to Chicago with an unspecified injury and his availability against the Kings is in doubt. Tony DeAngelo, another right-shot defenseman, would likely slide into the lineup after serving as a healthy scratch the past six games.
The Kings are hoping the next seven games on their home ice will help turn their season around.
"We always want to be a good home team, so no better time to go home than right now and get things back on track," Kings forward Anze Kopitar said.
Updated October 27, 2018