With their lengthy home winning streak and lead in the Western Conference gone, the Los Angeles Kings are heading east to try to get back on track.
The Pacific Division-leading Kings look to avoid a third straight defeat when they open a four-game trip Friday night against the Buffalo Sabres, who have dominated this series in western New York.
After its season-high six-game winning streak was snapped Monday with a 6-3 loss in San Jose, Los Angeles (12-5-0) suffered its first home defeat after an 8-0-0 start Wednesday, 5-3 to Columbus.
The Kings also fell a point behind Detroit for the top spot in the West.
“We don’t like the way we’ve played here now in the last couple of games,” coach Terry Murray told the Kings’ official website. “A couple of those goals look pretty easy for them, and that’s really out of character for us.”
Los Angeles, among the league leaders with 2.3 goals allowed per game, has surrendered as many goals during the last two games as it did in its previous eight.
“We’ll have to just tighten things up as we head out on the road,” said Murray, whose team plays three times over the next four nights.
While the Kings try for their second road win in this matchup after going 1-9-0 with a tie in Buffalo since the beginning of the 1993-94 season, the Sabres (7-10-3) look to notch their third straight home win.
Buffalo has scored seven goals in its last two games at HSBC Arena since averaging 1.9 during its worst start (0-6-1) at home in 17 years.
In Buffalo for the next four games, the defending Northeast Division champions will try to rebound from Wednesday’s 4-2 loss at Washington that snapped a five-game point streak and team-record five-game stretch of overtime contests.
The Sabres went 4-0-1 during that run.
“After the third goal we really turned the corner,” coach Lindy Ruff said Wednesday of his team trailing 3-0 less than 23 minutes in. “We made a lot of good plays, won the battles to create some of those chances. I didn’t like our start. Obviously, that hurt us.”
The play of Derek Roy(notes) hasn’t hurt the Sabres. The veteran center has three goals and nine points in the last six games, and he’s registered a goal and six assists in five career matchups with Los Angeles.
Roy scored and added two assists in the Kings’ last visit, a 5-0 victory Dec. 19, 2008. Buffalo has outscored Los Angeles 23-4 in winning the last three meetings at HSBC Arena.
Despite yielding a season high-tying four goals Wednesday, Quick is among the NHL’s best with a 1.73 goals-against average and is off to the best start (10-2-0) by a goalie in franchise history.
He is 2-0-0 with a 2.40 GAA in two starts against the Sabres.
Buffalo’s Ryan Miller(notes), 2-1-0 with a 1.67 GAA in three home starts versus Los Angeles, made 40 saves in the Kings’ last visit. It was the most shots he has turned away in any of his 17 shutouts.