West Coast Hockey Night; NY Rangers at LA Kings
The Rangers look to continue their strong play away from home when they visit the slumping Los Angeles Kings on Monday in the first meeting between the teams since 2003.
New York (5-5-0) kicked off its four-game trip with a 7-3 victory over Phoenix on Saturday, improving to 3-1 on the road this season. Jaromir Jagr led the way with a goal and three assists to bring his league-leading point total to 18.
He said the team feels less pressure when playing on the road.
“We said, ‘Let’s have fun,”’ said Jagr, who has nine goals and 16 assists in 22 career games against the Kings. “It’s tough to do that at home. You’re down one goal and you want to rush it back. You don’t play with the patience you should.
“On the road, it’s different. You’ve still got a lot of time. You’ve got 50 minutes left.”
The Rangers went down by a goal just 2:18 into the game, but Martin Straka got the equalizer eight minutes later and sparked six unanswered goals for New York. Straka, who played 32 games for the Kings during the 2003-04 season, had two goals and an assist in the victory.
Aaron Ward added a career-high three points and Brendan Shanahan recorded his team-high ninth goal.
The Rangers will try to continue their success in Los Angeles, where they are unbeaten in their last three games, posting two wins and a tie. However, they have not visited the Staples Center since Dec. 30, 2003, a 3-2 New York victory in which Straka scored a goal for the Kings.
New York plays eight of its next 10 games on the road, including games at Anaheim on Wednesday and San Jose on Thursday to complete the current West Coast trip.
“We happen to be on a good road trip here that will allow us, we think, to really galvanize as a group and obviously get the wins that we’re looking for, and really kind of kick-start us into the balance of the season,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said. “That’s our objective.”
The Rangers are going for back-to-back wins for the time since winning their first two games of the season. They’ll have a good chance at accomplishing the feat against a Los Angeles club looking to avoid its sixth straight loss.
The Kings (3-8-2) have lost nine of their last 10 games and went 0-4 on their just-completed road trip, including a 3-2 loss to Dallas on Saturday. Rob Blake’s first goal of the season snapped Los Angeles’ streak of four straight games without a power-play goal, but the Kings still only converted one of eight chances with the man advantage.
While the Rangers are coming off their best offensive showing since a 7-1 victory over Pittsburgh on Jan. 28, the Kings continue to struggle offensively, scoring two or fewer goals in five straight games and nine of their last 10.
On the bright side, Los Angeles is getting plenty of scoring chances, having outshot its last three opponents 108-71.
“We keep getting good effort,” Kings forward Jeff Cowan said. “This is tough. But if we keep playing hard this will eventually turn around.”
by: Gary Roberts – theSpread.com – Email Us
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