The Los Angeles Kings have been plagued by inconsistency since play resumed following the Olympic break.
However, one team they’ve performed well against in that time is the Dallas Stars.
The Kings will try to beat the Stars for the third time this month and record their first season sweep since 1990-91 on Saturday night.
Los Angeles (42-25-6) went 10-1-1 before the two-week hiatus for the Vancouver Games in February. Since the NHL season restarted, the Kings are 5-5-2 and were swept on a recent two-game trip.
With the defeat and a Nashville victory, Los Angeles dropped one point behind the Predators into sixth place in the Western Conference. The Kings, however, remain seven points ahead of ninth-place Calgary in their drive to end an eight-year playoff drought.
“I think it’s important for us as a team, not to worry about it,” Brown told the team’s Web site. “You look at the standings every day, but ultimately it comes down to how you play the game. It should be irrelevant whether Detroit or Calgary or any other team wins. We have to take care of our own business.”
Los Angeles took care of the Stars in a 5-1 win March 2 - the first game following the Olympic break - and a 2-1 shootout victory 10 days later. Jarret Stoll(notes) tallied the first of four straight goals to open the initial victory and was the only player to score in the shootout for either team in the Jan. 12 win.
While Stoll has been the hero lately against Dallas, Anze Kopitar(notes) has six goals in the five wins this season over the Stars (32-28-14), while Alexander Frolov(notes) has a team-best seven points on two goals and five assists.
They’ll face a Dallas team that’s also been inconsistent in recent games, posting a 3-2-1 record in its last six overall and a 2-3-0 road mark since the Olympics.
The Stars opened a four-game trip with a 3-1 victory over Nashville on Tuesday, but were blanked by San Jose 3-0 two nights later. Sitting 12th in the West, Dallas is in danger of missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
The Stars gave up two goals on San Jose’s seven power-play chances and they’ve allowed opponents to convert 14 of 52 opportunities this month, including three of six to the Kings.
“Yeah, (penalty-killing) is a concern,” coach Marc Crawford said. “At least we had lots of opportunities to work on it tonight.”
Dallas has lost in six of its last eight trips to Staples Center - including both games this season - but has earned at least one point in every game.
After rallying from a three-goal deficit there Oct. 22, the Stars fell 5-4 in overtime as Michal Handzus(notes) netted the winner for Los Angeles. Handzus also scored the only shootout goal in a 3-2 win over Dallas on Dec. 12.
Despite their recent inconsistency, the Kings have a chance to earn their third consecutive home victory - the longest streak since a season high-tying run of four straight Jan. 21-Feb. 6.