The Montreal Canadiens will head out to Southern California to face off against the Los Angeles Kings today at the Staples Center, which will be decked out in ice.
According to Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times, both the Canadiens and Kings engaged in trading players before the deadline passed. Kings Coach Darryl Sutter, who led Los Angeles to two Stanley Cup championships in three seasons, managed to acquire defenseman Andrej Sekera five days before trade deadline without giving up a current roster player.
"That's way more important, the importance of a team being close, especially if there is a nucleus of guys that have had success together," Sutter said. "The reason they've had success is that they've had to really dig in on some bad times."
The Associated Press reported that the Kings (30-21-12) are in a tough spot. That's because they could be the first defending champion since Carolina in 2006-07 to miss the postseason; however, they won 5-2 against Edmonton on Tuesday.
"It was one of the more complete games we have played lately," Anze Kopitar said. "We were on a bit of a skid, so we definitely needed that one. At this time of the year and in the position we are in, we need the two points every night."
Kopitar added that he didn't want the Kings "to put our fate in any other team's hands."
The Associated Press reported that Trevor Lewis had two goals and two assists in his last three. He credited Kopitar and Marian Gaborik with his latest success on the ice.
"'Those are two awesome players," Lewis said. "They are always open and there to support you. I just try to get them the puck and get to the net and good things are happening. Playing with those two almost makes the game a little easier."
As for Montreal, the Los Angeles Times reported that during the trading season, the team acquired Brian Flynn and Torrey Mitchell from Buffalo and Jeff Petry from Edmonton. The Canadiens (41-18-5) could decide to put them on the ice against Los Angeles.
Despite the fact Los Angeles has won five of six games against Montreal at the Staples Center, the Canadiens still think they can beat the Kings at home. P.K. Subban had some comments for the Associated Press after the Canadiens lost to San Jose 4-0 on Monday that could indicate how they might play against the Kings.
"I don't think we're losing momentum," Subban said regarding Monday's loss to San Jose. "We did enough to win this hockey game. It just didn't bounce our way today."
The Associated Press reported that Montreal leads the New York Rangers and Islanders by two points atop the East. In addition, the Canadiens have a three-point edge on Tampa Bay for the Atlantic Division lead.
The game will air today at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT on Fox Sports West and RDS as well as NHL Center ICE network. While an online subscription is required, viewers can stream the game on various devices through NHL GameCenter LIVE.