Red Wings vs. Kings Preview
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The Red Wings look to match a season high with their sixth consecutive road victory while trying to avoid a fifth straight loss to the Kings in a matchup of playoff contenders Monday night.
After consecutive home defeats, Detroit coach Mike Babcock looked forward to his team's five-game trip.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Kings -120 money line favorites for Monday's game against the Red Wings. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 87% of more than 367 bets for this game have been placed on the Red Wings +111.
The Central Division-leading Red Wings (38-18-6) are 7-9-2 at home since Dec. 6, but improved to 21-8-2 away from Joe Louis Arena with a 3-2 shootout win at Buffalo on Saturday.
The Red Wings, who have scored 21 goals during their five-game road winning streak, won six straight away from home Dec. 26-Jan. 8.
"It's always nice to win," Babcock said. "I don't care if it's at home or on the road. (It makes) the flight half as long.''
Detroit heads cross country for four games against Pacific Division opponents, starting in Los Angeles where it has lost two straight by a pair of one-goal margins. The Red Wings have dropped four straight overall to the Kings - two this season - after winning six straight in the series.
Los Angeles (35-23-4), which won 5-0 in Detroit on Dec. 13, is 11-1-3 since losing 10 of 12. The Kings will try for a fourth consecutive victory after almost blowing a four-goal lead in Saturday's 4-3 win over Colorado.
"I'm pretty sure that when the Red Wings come to town (Monday), we'll be a little different," forward Anze Kopitar told the Kings' official website. "We just have to stay sharp throughout 60 minutes, not just 50.''
Detroit went beyond regulation to win its last two road games in a shootout.
"We can't assume that it's going to come easy for us, we just have to continue to keep the game simple," defenseman Brad Stuart told the Red Wings' official website.
Pavel Datsyuk and Jiri Hudler each scored in the shootout and regulation at Buffalo. Datsyuk has four goals and three assists during the five-game road streak. Hudler has two with eight assists his last eight overall.
Datsyuk has just two assists his last seven games against the Kings, but both have come in Los Angeles.
While injured forwards Mike Modano and Valtteri Filppula returned Saturday, the Red Wings will be without goal-leader Johan Franzen the rest of the trip while he is with his wife who is expecting their first child.
Defenseman Brian Rafalski could miss a second straight game with back spasms.
Los Angeles is relatively healthy, but looks for an overall better effort after allowing the struggling Avalanche to score three third-period goals.
On the positive side, Kopitar and Drew Doughty each had a goal with an assist as the Kings improved to 19-0 when leading after two periods.
Kopitar, the first Kings player with 20 goals in each of his first five NHL seasons since Luc Robitaille did it his first eight, has scored in three straight games. He has four goals and three assists the last four versus Detroit.
Jonathan Quick, who has a 1.95 goals-against average while winning nine of 11, stopped 51 shots at Detroit in December for the second of his career-high six shutouts in 2010-11. He has a 1.72 GAA during the four-game winning streak against the Red Wings.