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Kings look to end skid when they host Canucks
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings have lost two in a row for the first time this season and they will try to put an end to the streak when they host the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday at Staples Center.
The Kings (11-4-2) lost to the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 on Thursday and then to the visiting San Jose Sharks 2-1 on Sunday. Los Angeles gave up four goals in a span of 2:02 of the first period against the Lightning. They shut out the Sharks for two periods before surrendering a one-goal lead in the third.
The game against San Jose was the start of five in eight days.
"We're off to a tough start in this segment," Kings coach John Stevens told the team web site. "We're in no different of a situation now than we were when we were winning games. We did some good things when we were winning, and we did some things that weren't nearly good enough. Even though we've lost games, we did some good things in the games, and there are clearly areas we need to be better at."
One of the areas in on the forecheck and the Kings will be up against a team that's just as hungry for a win. Vancouver has also lost two straight and the Canucks didn't come close in either game. They lost 4-1 at the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday and 5-0 at the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.
Vancouver (8-7-2) has dropped to 27th in the NHL at 2.53 goals a game and 28th on the power play with a 14.1 percent success rate. The Canucks will be up against a defense that's been the second hardest to score against at 2.41 goals-against per game this season, and the Kings own the league's No. 1 penalty-kill unit at 91.9 percent.
"Teams are so good now killing, you can't guess out there," Vancouver forward Loui Eriksson told the Province on Monday. "You have to know where to put pucks and get the second chances and even after scrambles, knowing where to put pucks. That's been our biggest problem."
Eriksson returned against San Jose after missing 12 games with a knee injury and took five shots on goal in 18:16 of ice time. He was second on the Canucks with five power-play goals in 65 games last season and should help with the man advantage.
Los Angeles is 11th in the NHL in scoring at 3.18 goals a game.
They've been benefiting from solid bounce-back years from their two longest-tenured players, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, who have each scored eight goals. Kopitar scored 12 in 76 games last season, and Brown had 14 in 80 games.
Adrian Kempe is also beginning to show the Kings may have found a gem with the 29th overall draft pick in 2014.
Kempe is second on the team with seven goals, and has filled in nicely centering the second line with Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson. He took over the spot previously occupied by last season's leading goal scorer, Jeff Carter, who is out indefinitely with a leg laceration.
Updated November 14, 2017