National Hockey League
Sabres-Kings Preview
National Hockey League

Sabres-Kings Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 2:45 p.m. ET

As far as the Los Angeles Kings are concerned, winning low-scoring games only prepares them for a playoff run they hope ends with their third Stanley Cup in five years.

History suggests they could get more practice in that regard Saturday night.

No team has scored more than two goals in each of the last five meetings between the Kings and visiting Buffalo Sabres, who also have been receiving some quality goaltending lately.

Los Angeles (36-20-4) leads Anaheim by two points atop the Pacific Division and has a showdown looming with the Ducks on the road Sunday. It has scored two goals or fewer in each of its last six, going 0-2-1 to start that stretch before winning the last three by the same 2-1 score.


Jeff Carter tied it in the third period against Edmonton on Thursday with his first goal in eight games before Dwight King's winner with 5:50 left.

The Kings certainly would like to be scoring more, but that doesn't mean they're not equipped to win a championship. Los Angeles finished second-to-last in goals when it won its first Stanley Cup in 2012 and 26th before winning the title in 2014.

It's tied for 16th this season.

"There's no doubt in my mind that we can be a championship team, for sure," forward Anze Kopitar told the team's official website. "We'd also rather be in a slump right now than come April. You have to work at it, it's not just going to come out of nowhere. You've just got to improve all over the ice so you can get chances off of that, create scoring chances that you eventually score on."

Buffalo (25-30-7) did the Kings a favor Friday by keeping the third-place Sharks six points back with a 3-1 victory in San Jose. Los Angeles has been able to hold its division lead largely due to the play of Jonathan Quick, who has a 1.49 goals-against average over his last six starts.

Former Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth could get the start in this one, though, in order for the Kings to have a rested Quick against the Ducks. Enroth lost 1-0 to New Jersey in his last start Feb. 14.

"We know we can't control how other teams are playing right now," forward Tyler Toffoli said. "We have to be worried about ourselves, worried about ourselves winning games, playing the right way, and just gaining momentum throughout the remainder of the season."

Los Angeles hasn't scored more than two goals in any of the last seven meetings with Buffalo, going 2-3-2 in those matchups. Ryan O'Reilly scored in overtime to give the Sabres a 2-1 victory Dec. 12, but he's out for at least three weeks with a lower-body injury.

Buffalo has allowed one goal or none in five of its last six and got 24 saves Friday from Chad Johnson, who has been rumored in trades ahead of Monday's deadline. Robin Lehner has a 1.39 GAA over his last five starts after stopping 28 shots in Wednesday's 1-0 loss to Anaheim and is likely to get the nod for this one.

Zach Bogosian scored the go-ahead goal off a deflection in the third against the Sharks before assisting on Evander Kane's empty netter. Bogosian has three goals over his last three after not scoring in his previous 34.

The Kings made a minor trade Friday, shipping Christian Ehrhoff to Chicago for fellow defenseman Rob Scuderi, who played for Los Angeles' 2012 championship team.


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