PREDICTION: Red Wings 4, Predators 3.
COYOTES AT KINGS
The Los Angeles Kings will try for their third straight game with a point under new coach Darryl Sutter when they host the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday. Los Angeles posted a shootout victory over the Anaheim Ducks at home in Sutter’s debut on Thursday, then took the Sharks to another shootout before succumbing in San Jose the following night. Thursday’s win was just the Kings’ third in their last eight contests at home. Phoenix has performed well on the road of late, winning four of six and 11 of 16. Overall, the Coyotes have lost five of eight, with the three wins coming in their last five games.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FSN Arizona Plus (Phoenix), FSN West (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE COYOTES (18-14-3): Jason LaBarbera will make his third consecutive start as Mike Smith continues to recover from a lower body injury. LaBarbera defeated the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday before losing to the St. Louis Blues two days later, allowing three goals in each contest. Martin Hanzal took a high stick to the face from David Backes early in the third period of Friday’s loss and did not return. Hanzal, who was helped off the ice but appeared to be feeling better after the game, has scored just five goals in 33 contests this season after netting a career-high 16 in 61 matches last
ABOUT THE KINGS (16-14-5): Mike Richards has scored a goal in each of his two games following an eight-game absence due to a head injury. A two-time 20-goal scorer, Trent Hunter failed to tally more than 14 times in any of the past four seasons and is unlikely to reach that mark in 2011-12 as he has one goal in 20 games. After totaling 61 goals in his first three full seasons, Hunter has scored 39 in 235 games over the last five campaigns.
1. Phoenix has won four of its last five games against division rivals but has dropped four of five vs. Western Conference opponents.
2. The Coyotes are 6-3-1 in their last 10 meetings with the Kings.
PREDICTION: Kings 3, Coyotes 1.
DUCKS AT SHARKS
Bruce Boudreau is doing his best to look at the positives. Considering where the Anaheim Ducks sit in the standings, well ... the glass is far from half full. The Ducks limped into the Christmas break having lost 24 of their last 29 games to plummet to the bottom of the Pacific Division. While Boudreau hasn’t been there for all of the setbacks, he’s seen his fair share already - including a 3-2 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Friday. “I hate to keep saying it, but I think we played pretty solid,” Boudreau said. “The difference between winning and losing sometimes is just the attitude of believing you’re going to win and believing you’re going to lose.” Boudreau is hoping the Ducks’ attitude changes when they visit HP Pavilion to face the Pacific Division rival San Jose Sharks on Monday. Anaheim has posted just a 2-10-5 mark away from home - including 13 straight without a victory. For its part, division-leading San Jose matched a season high with four straight wins to start its six-game homestand.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, KDOC, CSCA
ABOUT THE DUCKS (9-19-6): Veteran Teemu Selanne saw his point streak end at nine contests as the Ducks lost their fourth in a row. D Lubomir Visnovsky collected a goal and an assist in each of his last two games. The All-Star blue-liner is showing signs of reverting to form after missing 13 contests with a broken finger. LW Niklas Hagman seems to have found a home in Anaheim, notching four goals in his last five games. He struggled upon joining the team, scoring just one goal in 10 contests.
ABOUT THE SHARKS (19-10-3): San Jose was making strides with its struggling penalty kill, but saw its streak end at 10 after Los Angeles’ Mike Richards scored in the second period. The Sharks are tied for the second-worst penalty kill percentage (74.7) in the NHL. C Logan Couture scored his team’s lone goal in regulation. He has collected six points in his last five games.
1. Anaheim is one of two NHL teams to have yet to record a shorthanded goal this season. The Calgary Flames are the other.
2. San Jose welcomed back a familiar face in G Antero Niittymaki. He appeared in three games with Worcester of the American Hockey League while working on his conditioning following hip surgery.