The Kings look to continue their dominance of the Senators on Thursday night when the teams meet for the only time this season.
Los Angeles (16-10-2) was one of the league’s biggest surprises early, starting 10-4-2 before cooling off with a 4-6-0 stretch that included two shootout wins.
The Kings, though, appear to be back on track with three wins in four games, including Tuesday’s 4-3 victory in Anaheim. Brad Richardson(notes) scored his first goal of the season with 2:20 remaining in regulation to help Los Angeles build off a 2-1 shootout win over Central Division-leading Chicago three nights earlier.
“It’s been a long time coming, for sure,” said Richardson, who had a goal and an assist for his first points in 27 games this season. “I just tried to shoot the puck and stay positive, and I knew eventually it would come. I just tried to create some traffic, and luckily I got a tip on it.”
The center has matched the longest goal drought of his career, coming up empty in 10 straight games to equal his stretch from Dec. 15-Jan. 6 of last season. However, he’s still managed five assists during his current streak without a goal.
Kopitar’s scoring problems have come after he led the NHL with 14 goals and 28 points over the first 18 games of the season. He’s been a big part of the Kings’ victories, getting 12 goals and 14 assists compared to two goals and five assists in losses.
The Kings are 7-1-1 in the last nine overall meetings with the Senators, and are 9-1-0 with a tie all-time at home against Ottawa with the lone loss coming Jan. 11, 2000.
The Senators have dropped the first two of a five-game road trip after winning five of six. Their last two losses have also seen them waste two-goal performances from red-hot Milan Michalek(notes), as they extended their road losing streak to five games (0-4-1).
The left wing scored twice in a 5-2 defeat at San Jose on Monday after his second goal Saturday forced overtime before Ottawa fell 4-3 in a shootout at Boston.
“I would have exchanged the two goals for two points. That would have been better,” Michalek said after the loss to the NHL-leading Sharks.
Michalek, in his first season with the Senators, has eight goals and two assists over the last eight games. He leads the Senators with 15 goals and is third with 20 points after posting 23 and 34, respectively, with San Jose last season.
Michalek has 12 goals and eight assists in 29 games against the Kings, but only one assist in his last five games at Los Angeles.