Poor play in net is largely to blame for Montreal’s longest losing streak in two years. Surprisingly, a matchup with the Los Angeles Kings may not give the Canadiens a break.
Losers of four straight, the Canadiens and goalie Carey Price look to keep the Kings’ suddenly surging offense in check when the teams meet Saturday.
Montreal (27-15-6) ended a five-game road trip with its longest skid since March 2007, when it also lost four in a row. The Canadiens haven’t lost five straight since a six-game skid in February 2007.
“We have to find that desperation back in our game,” Montreal defenseman Mike Komisarek said. “We need that one shift, one period, one game to get us back on track, and get us playing with confidence, with poise and playing together.”
The Canadiens allowed 23 goals during their trip, five in each of their final three games. All-Star starter Price has made three straight starts for Montreal since missing eight games because of an ankle injury, giving up 14 goals.
Price was clearly angry in the locker room after making 31 saves in a 5-1 loss to Florida on Thursday night.
“You go from having the best time of your life to the worst time of your life,” Price said. “We’ve got to pull together. We can’t start pointing fingers now or you’ll never dig yourself out of the hole.”
Price has never faced the Kings (20-20-7), who have scored two goals or fewer in three straight road losses to Montreal. Plus, Los Angeles ranks near the bottom of the league in scoring, averaging 2.55 goals per game.
The Kings, though, are enjoying their best scoring run of the season, finding the back of the net 16 times en route to winning their last three games. Los Angeles has a chance to match its longest winning streak of the season, set from Nov. 6-13.
“We know we can beat good teams,” Kings center Jarret Stoll said.
Los Angeles is coming off its first game since the All-Star break, beating Chicago 5-2 on Thursday night.
Jonathan Quick showed no rust in his first game in eight day, making 31 saves.
“He’s been that way through most every game that he’s played,” Kings coach Terry Murray said. “Your goaltender has to save you.”
Quick is 7-5-0 with a 2.42 goals-against average in 14 games since being called up from Manchester of the AHL on Dec. 16. He earned his first NHL point with an assist versus the Blackhawks on Patrick O’Sullivan’s fourth career short-handed goal.
O’Sullivan has two goals and two assists in his last three games.
Alexander Frolov, meanwhile, scored against Chicago for his team-high 21st goal. The veteran winger has four goals and an assist in his last four contests, but has been held off the scoresheet in five career games against the Canadiens.
Los Angeles, beginning a five-game road trip, will be playing at Montreal for the first time since a 3-2 loss on Dec. 3, 2005. The Canadiens won last season’s matchup 5-2 at Los Angeles on March 8.