Kings-Canadiens Preview

The Associated Press

One of the most surprising aspects of the Los Angeles Kings' solid goaltending during their surge is that Jonathan Quick hasn't been in net for any of it.

It's hardly a shock Carey Price has been the main catalyst for the Montreal Canadiens' current run.

Visiting Los Angeles looks to avoid an eighth straight loss to Montreal while ending the Canadiens' five-game winning streak Tuesday night.

Quick is on injured reserve with a groin injury suffered Nov. 12 in a shootout loss at Buffalo, and he's not expected to return for at least a couple more weeks.

Ben Scrivens, who was acquired in the offseason trade that sent former backup Jonathan Bernier to Toronto, has filled in admirably since Quick's injury, going 6-1-3 with a 1.47 goals-against average.

Rookie Martin Jones has been in goal for the last two contests while making the first starts of his career, though. He made 26 saves and stopped all nine shootout attempts in a 3-2 win over Anaheim last Tuesday, then made 16 saves in Saturday's 3-0 win over the New York Islanders.

The Kings (19-7-4) are 8-1-3 since Quick went down, with Scrivens and Jones combining to allow an average of 1.42 goals per game that is best in the league in that span. Coach Darryl Sutter didn't explain the decision to go with Jones in consecutive games, nor did he say who will be in net against Montreal as the team begins a four-game road trip.

Los Angeles also plays Wednesday against Toronto.

''It's been awesome to see both (Scrivens and Jones) come in and play as well as they have,'' said captain Dustin Brown, who has scored in back-to-back games. ''We have a lot of guys that do the right thing defensively. All of our team is sticking with it, and you see the results in games like (Saturday's).''

The Canadiens (19-9-3) have gotten stellar goaltending as well during their 9-0-1 run, as Price made 32 saves in Saturday's 3-2 win over Buffalo. Their 1.90 goals-against per game is second to Los Angeles during their surge.

Price has won his last seven starts while posting a 1.71 GAA, and he's won each of his three career starts against Los Angeles with a 1.67 GAA.

Montreal hasn't lost to the Kings since March 8, 2003, and has won 12 of 13 home meetings dating back to when the Canadiens beat Los Angeles in Game 2 and the clinching Game 5 of the 1993 Stanley Cup finals.

Extending that run may hinge on Montreal's fourth line putting forth another strong effort. Brandon Prust scored, Ryan White had an assist and Travis Moen had two assists Saturday.

''Those top guys have been carrying a heavy load lately and have been doing a great job," Prust said. "We want to contribute when we can. We were happy to do it.''

Coach Michel Therrien lauded their performance as well.

''They were practically our best trio,'' Therrien said. ''They played a huge part in our team's victory. They created some scoring chances with their intensity. They spent a lot of time in the offensive zone. They certainly were true leaders.''

Goals may come at a premium in this contest. Los Angeles hasn't given up more than three in 15 straight, while Montreal hasn't done so in 14 consecutive contests.

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