Already at the top of the Western Conference standings, the Detroit Red Wings are about to get stronger.
With a pair of veterans set to return, the Red Wings try for a season-high fifth straight win Saturday night against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center.
Detroit (17-4-2) expects to have Chris Osgood(notes), who has missed 13 games with a groin pull, in goal Saturday for the first time since October. Center Kris Draper(notes) is expected to make his season debut after missing the first 23 games because of a groin injury and a sports hernia.
Osgood was 2-2-0 with a 2.76 goals-against average before the injury. He’s compiled a 1.75 GAA while winning 10 of his last 12 starts against the Kings.
The return of Osgood and the scrappy Draper should only reinforce a club that won Friday for the ninth time in 11 games, 4-0 at Anaheim.
Franzen has three goals and four assists in his last 10 games against the Kings, but missed all four meetings last season because of a knee injury that sidelined him for 55 games. Without him, the teams split the season series.
“He’s always going to score,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said of Franzen. “When he’s really going, he’s all over the puck and he makes good plays.”
The Red Wings have dropped two in a row to the Kings after winning the previous six games between the teams.
Los Angeles snapped a five-game home losing streak against Detroit with a 4-3 win in their last meeting Feb. 6.
The Kings (14-10-0) also snapped a four-game overall skid Thursday, rallying for two third-period goals to beat Florida 3-2. The three total goals were one fewer than Los Angeles managed during its losing streak.
Once the leader in the West thanks to a 12-3-0 start, the Kings have won twice in their last nine games.
“When you go through a tough time like that, nothing comes easy,” said Anze Kopitar(notes), who scored Thursday’s deciding goal on a rebound with 2:43 to play in the third. It was good to get the win and get on the right track again. Hopefully we can continue to play like that.”
Kopitar has scored three of the Kings’ seven goals over the last five games. He has one goal and three assists in his last seven games against the Red Wings.
If the Kings can beat Detroit, it could breathe some life into a club that plays its next 12 games against Western Conference opponents.
Jonathan Quick(notes) is likely to be in net after making 24 saves versus Florida to improve to 12-5-0 with a 1.92 GAA. He is 2-5-0 with a 3.16 GAA lifetime versus Detroit but has stopped 51 of 56 shots in the Kings’ two straight wins over the Red Wings.
Kings opponents are 0 for 41 on the power play at Staples Center this season.