LOS ANGELES (TICKER) —A pair of teams that are falling further away from the final playoff spot in their respective conferences skate Saturday night as the Los Angeles Kings host the Montreal Canadiens.
Los Angeles is tied with Phoenix for 10th in the Western Conference, 10 points behind the Edmonton Oilers for the eighth and final playoff berth. The Kings are 1-2-0 on a five-game homestand and 3-5-0 in their last eight overall.
The Kings come off Thursday’s 2-1 loss to Edmonton. They managed just 22 shots and had a potential tying goal by Craig Johnson disallowed with 69 seconds remaining.
Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky had the lone goal and it was set up by Ziggy Palffy, who has eight points in his last five games and 26 points in his last 17 games.
“We have a battle ahead of us now,” Johnson said. “We can’t afford to lose any more points. We still have a chance to catch these guys. As long as there are games to be played, we are going to go out there and compete.”
Montreal is 10th in the East, seven points behind the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins, who are tied for the final two playoff berths. The Candiens are 19-7-5 when leading after two periods and have lost 15 times after leading or being tied in the third period.
Montreal’s winless reached eight games (0-5-1-2) with Thursday’s 4-3 overtime setback in San Jose. It failed to protect a 2-1 lead, allowing two more third period goals to increase its league-leading total to 83.
“That’s our season,” defenseman Patrice Brisebois said. “All season, we’d get the lead after two periods and we’d lose the game, and that’s happened so often this year. I don’t know why. That’s not supposed to happen, but it’s happened too often this year.”
Montreal posted a 3-1 home win over Los Angeles on November 9 as former King Yanic Perreault scored twice on the power play.