Kings open nine-game road swing in Buffalo
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Los Angeles Kings have survived the first third of the season without starting goaltender Jonathan Quick. They'll be pushed to the limit, however, as they embark on a nine-game road trip that begins in Buffalo on Tuesday night.
"It's fun. It's a little different," said center Tyler Toffoli, according to the Los Angeles Times. "We've been at home for so long, so going on the road is going to feel weird at first but we've got to start off the trip right, with a win at Buffalo, and just keep going from there."
The road trip will indeed be quite the test for Los Angeles (14-11-2). It includes two back-to-back scenarios before wrapping up in Edmonton just before the start of the new year on Dec. 29.
The Kings played eight of their past 10 games at home, posting a 6-2-1 record. They'll hope to fare better than they did in their most recent long road trip; Los Angeles went 1-3-1 in a five-game road trek in mid-November.
"I know it might not be mathematically the midseason break, but it feels like that, especially for the players," defenseman Matt Greene said, according to the L.A. Times. "Once you hit Christmas the pedal goes down until the All-Star break and it goes down a little bit more after that, so you've got to eat up these points and get into the holiday break."
Center Jeff Carter leads the Kings in points with 22 (12 goals, 10 assists). Peter Budaj has performed admirably in place of the injured Quick, who has been out of action since the very first game of the season. Budaj has a record of 13-7-2, along with 2.18 goals against average and .910 save percentage.
Los Angeles is coming off a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.
The Sabres (10-11-6) are hoping to have the services of forward Kyle Okposo against the Kings. Okposo missed Monday's practice due to an illness.
"When I was hurt I got to watch him a lot and learned a lot about how he plays," center Jack Eichel said of Okposo, according to the team's website. "I think he's probably one of the most underrated players in our league, just how good he is with the puck, without the puck, in all areas of the game. He's strong on it, he's very skilled, and he can make passes."
"He was not feeling well last night and just had to stay at home," Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said, per the team's website. "We hope he recovers and does well and can play."
If Okposo does play, he's expected to be on a line alongside Eichel and Evander Kane. He switched places with Sam Reinhart in the lineup at Sunday's practice.
Buffalo is coming off a disappointing 4-1 home loss to Washington on Friday. The Sabres are 1-2-1 in their last four games.