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Sat, Nov 5, 2011 - 10:30 PM ET
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The offensively challenged Los Angeles Kings know they need to pick up the pace if they want to remain competitive.

While the Pittsburgh Penguins haven't had much difficulty scoring this season, an inability to stop opponents has proved costly in their last two games.

The Kings, losers of three straight, host a Penguins team that's looking to avoid a third consecutive defeat Saturday night.

Los Angeles opened the season 5-1-1 but has gone 1-3-1 since. The Kings overcame the lack of offense during the fast start due in large part to goaltender Jonathan Quick, but the inability to score appears to have caught up to them, as they've managed four goals in the last four losses.

Los Angeles suffered its second shutout in the last five games Thursday, 3-0 to Edmonton.

The Kings' 26 goals are the second fewest in the Western Conference. Quick also hasn't been nearly as effective during the three-game skid, giving up three goals in each contest to give him four straight games with that number of goals allowed.

"It would be one thing if we had glorious opportunity after glorious opportunity," defenseman Jack Johnson told the Kings' official website, "but that's the trouble because it doesn't seem like that's really the case.

"For whatever reason, we need to try to find a way to be a little more creative, whether it's kind of - I don't want to say `taking chances,' but we have to do something to try to create some offense and score some goals for Quickie."

Johnson has no points in his last five games.

The Penguins (8-3-3), by contrast, have scored 42 goals but need to tighten things up in their end of the ice. They allowed two goals in the third period and lost 4-3 at Toronto last Saturday, then blew a 3-1 lead with 10:49 to play and fell 4-3 in shootout at San Jose on Thursday.

Playing better defense may be even tougher with the loss of defenseman Ben Lovejoy, who broke his left wrist Thursday.

Pittsburgh could also be without center Jordan Staal, who has been held out the last two games with a lower-body injury. He is second on the team with six goals.

Evgeni Malkin has also had injury problems this season, missing seven games, but he appears to be rounding into form. Malkin scored twice and had an assist against the Sharks, giving him three goals and three assists in his last three contests.

"The rest that he did get served him really well in terms of dealing with the issues that he had," said coach Dan Bylsma, whose team had won five in a row while giving up six goals before the last two games. "He had a couple good days of practice. He seemed really well now tonight. He was effective, strong, skating well."

The Kings are all too aware of what Malkin can do. The center has five goals and two assists in three career meetings with Los Angeles - all Pittsburgh victories.

Marc-Andre Fleury, 3-1-1 with a 2.14 goals-against average on the road this season, is 1-1-0 with a 3.92 GAA lifetime at Los Angeles.

Quick is 3-1-0 with a 1.23 GAA and two shutouts at home, where the Kings have killed off all but one of 17 short-handed situations.

Pittsburgh failed to create a power-play opportunity Thursday for the first time since Feb. 23, 2003. Despite their problems on defense, the Penguins have surrendered three power-play goals in 40 chances.

Tagged: Kings, Penguins, Evgeni Malkin, Jonathan Quick

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