Kings try to continue record start vs. Habs (Oct 18, 2017)
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings are off to their best five-game start in team history and will try to maintain course when they host the struggling Montreal Canadiens at Staples Center on Wednesday.
The Kings (4-0-1), who have finished in the top nine in the NHL in goals-against average the past eight seasons, own the league's lowest GAA at 1.80. Los Angeles goalkeeper Jonathan Quick has a 1.74 GAA in four appearances this season and is 4-2-0 in his career against Montreal with a 2.14 GAA.
Still, Kings coach John Stevens said there is room for improvement.
"I think we've given up more chances than we need to," Stevens told the team's website Tuesday. "We've got some real solid goaltending, our penalty kill's been excellent, but we'd like to see those chances against come down a little bit."
Montreal (1-4-1) is still looking for its first regulation win of the season after losing 5-2 to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, its 11th consecutive loss in San Jose.
Canadiens goaltender Carey Price started the first six games this season, and he likely won't start a second straight night on the road, opening the door for career backup Al Montoya to make his first start of the season.
"It's a very poor start from our team, from myself, from a lot of individuals, but who's gonna feel sorry for us?" Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty said after the Tuesday loss. "Tomorrow we play another good team with an opportunity to turn this around, so as upset as we are right now, it doesn't do us any good to feel sorry for ourselves.
"It's a good time to look in the mirror and see what we're made of because a lot of people are probably doubting this team right now, and I know it's only six games into the year and it's very, very frustrating. This is what makes you a stronger player."
Pacioretty led Montreal with 35 goals and 67 points last season, but he is off to a slow start with one goal in the season opener and no points since. Playing against the Kings could spark him, however. He had two goals and three assists in the two victories against Los Angeles last season.
Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin has a goal and an assist in each of the past two games. He had a goal and two assists in two wins last season against the Kings, when he was with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Los Angeles center Anze Kopitar is off to a strong start. He has four goals and four assists, all in the past four games.
Kopitar is coming off one of the most unproductive seasons of his 11-year career. He had 52 points (12 goals, 40 points) in 76 games last season, and the Kings missed the playoffs for the second time in three years.
Kopitar didn't get his eighth point until his 14th game last season and didn't record his first multi-point game until Dec. 1. He already has three multi-point games this season.
Kopitar has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 13 career games against the Canadiens, including two goals and four assists in the past four games.
Kings winger Justin Auger was recalled from Ontario of the AHL on Tuesday, and he could make his NHL debut against Montreal. Auger, who is 6-foot-7, 228 pounds, skated alongside Michael Cammalleri and Adrian Kempe during his first NHL regular-season practice Tuesday.
"We've liked his progression since he's come into the organization," Stevens said. "He's a big guy, and we've tried to get him a step quicker, but he's got good detail in his game."