Kings-Canadiens Preview

One of the most surprising aspects of the Los Angeles Kings’

solid goaltending during their surge is that Jonathan Quick hasn’t

been in net for any of it.

It’s hardly a shock Carey Price has been the main catalyst for

the Montreal Canadiens’ current run.

Visiting Los Angeles looks to avoid an eighth straight loss to

Montreal while ending the Canadiens’ five-game winning streak

Tuesday night.

Quick is on injured reserve with a groin injury suffered Nov. 12

in a shootout loss at Buffalo, and he’s not expected to return for

at least a couple more weeks.

Ben Scrivens, who was acquired in the offseason trade that sent

former backup Jonathan Bernier to Toronto, has filled in admirably

since Quick’s injury, going 6-1-3 with a 1.47 goals-against

average.

Rookie Martin Jones has been in goal for the last two contests

while making the first starts of his career, though. He made 26

saves and stopped all nine shootout attempts in a 3-2 win over

Anaheim last Tuesday, then made 16 saves in Saturday’s 3-0 win over

the New York Islanders.

The Kings (19-7-4) are 8-1-3 since Quick went down, with

Scrivens and Jones combining to allow an average of 1.42 goals per

game that is best in the league in that span. Coach Darryl Sutter

didn’t explain the decision to go with Jones in consecutive games,

nor did he say who will be in net against Montreal as the team

begins a four-game road trip.

Los Angeles also plays Wednesday against Toronto.

”It’s been awesome to see both (Scrivens and Jones) come in and

play as well as they have,” said captain Dustin Brown, who has

scored in back-to-back games. ”We have a lot of guys that do the

right thing defensively. All of our team is sticking with it, and

you see the results in games like (Saturday’s).”

The Canadiens (19-9-3) have gotten stellar goaltending as well

during their 9-0-1 run, as Price made 32 saves in Saturday’s 3-2

win over Buffalo. Their 1.90 goals-against per game is second to

Los Angeles during their surge.

Price has won his last seven starts while posting a 1.71 GAA,

and he’s won each of his three career starts against Los Angeles

with a 1.67 GAA.

Montreal hasn’t lost to the Kings since March 8, 2003, and has

won 12 of 13 home meetings dating back to when the Canadiens beat

Los Angeles in Game 2 and the clinching Game 5 of the 1993 Stanley

Cup finals.

Extending that run may hinge on Montreal’s fourth line putting

forth another strong effort. Brandon Prust scored, Ryan White had

an assist and Travis Moen had two assists Saturday.

”Those top guys have been carrying a heavy load lately and have

been doing a great job,” Prust said. “We want to contribute when we

can. We were happy to do it.”

Coach Michel Therrien lauded their performance as well.

”They were practically our best trio,” Therrien said. ”They

played a huge part in our team’s victory. They created some scoring

chances with their intensity. They spent a lot of time in the

offensive zone. They certainly were true leaders.”

Goals may come at a premium in this contest. Los Angeles hasn’t

given up more than three in 15 straight, while Montreal hasn’t done

so in 14 consecutive contests.