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National Hockey League
Preview
Montreal at Los Angeles
When: 3:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 4, 2016
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

The Los Angeles Kings continue to stay afloat in the competitive Pacific Division without No. 1 goaltender Jonathan Quick as they begin a three-game homestand Sunday against the Montreal Canadiens. Much of the credit goes to Peter Budaj as the No. 3 goalie appeared in 22 straight games (20 starts) - a run originally necessitated by a groin injury to No. 2 Jeff Zatkoff, but prolonged on merit.

Zatkoff, though, could be on the verge of regaining his backup role - or No. 1 position with Quick likely out another two months with a groin injury - after stopping 25 of 26 shots over the last two periods in relief of Budaj on Thursday in a 4-3 victory in Arizona. The Kings, who won six of their last seven contests overall and at home, play nine straight road games beginning Dec. 13 - with back-to-back sets immediately before and after the Christmas break - that should create plenty of opportunities for both to see action. Atlantic Division-leading Montreal played its fourth consecutive 2-1 game Friday, losing at San Jose and leaving them 1-2-0 on a five-game road trip that concludes Tuesday in St. Louis. "We had chances but we’re having a hard time lately finding the net - but you know what, the effort was there,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien told reporters.

TV: 3 p.m. ET, RDS, Sportsnet East (Montreal), FSN West (Los Angeles)

ABOUT THE CANADIENS (16-6-2): Alex Galchenyuk owns a team-most nine goals with three in his last six games and leads the club with 23 points. Alexander Radulov (four goals, 14 assists) left Friday's game with a cut just below his eyebrow that required stitches after the stick of San Jose's Logan Couture went underneath his visor, but Galchenyuk's linemate is expected to play Sunday. Carey Price (13-3-1, 1.71 goals-against average, .946 save percentage), who is riding his first losing streak of the season (two games), allowed two or fewer goals in 14 of his 17 games.

ABOUT THE KINGS (13-10-1): Marian Gaborik recorded an assist in each of his last two games - his second and third contests of the season since returning from a foot injury sustained during the World Cup of Hockey - and is skating on a line with Anze Kopitar and Trevor Lewis. Kopitar recorded two assists Thursday and has three in four games since missing five with hand and wrist injuries. Jeff Carter leads the team with 10 goals, but scored only one in the last four games after exploding for four in three contests while Jordan Nolan recorded his first two tallies of the season Thursday to snap a 66-game drought dating to April 9, 2015.

OVERTIME

1. Gaborik (386 career goals) hasn't enjoyed an injury-free season since recording 41 goals and 35 assists with the New York Rangers in 2011-12.

2. Montreal D Shea Weber is second in the NHL with a plus-18 rating, and was tied for the league lead in power-play goals entering Saturday with seven.

3. The Canadiens won 4-1 on Nov. 10 in the first of two meetings this season to snap a three-game slide in the series, but lost their last three in Los Angeles.

PREDICTION: Canadiens 2, Kings 1
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
Montreal 16-6-1-1 L2 12-1-1-0 4-5-0-1 0-0-0-0 16-6-1-1 8-1-1-1
Los Angeles 13-10-0-1 W1 9-3-0-0 4-7-0-1 2-0-0-1 11-10-0-0 5-3-0-0
Last Meeting
Montreal Los Angeles
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
11/10/16 LA 1 MON 4 23 23 0-2 24 19 1-5
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
Montreal M. Pacioretty 2
Los Angeles J. Carter 1
Goals Player  
Montreal P. Byron 1
Los Angeles T. Toffoli 1
Assists Player  
Montreal M. Pacioretty 2
Los Angeles J. Carter 1
Saves Player  
Montreal C. Price 23
Los Angeles P. Budaj 19
Season
Total Points Player  
Montreal A. Galchenyuk 25
Los Angeles J. Carter 22
Goals Player  
Montreal A. Galchenyuk 11
Los Angeles J. Carter 11
Assists Player  
Montreal A. Markov 18
Los Angeles A. Martinez 12
Saves Player  
Montreal C. Price 534
Los Angeles P. Budaj 467
Quickchart Matchup
Montreal Off vs  Los Angeles Def
2.88 GF
2.5 GA
29.2 Shots
25.7 Shots
16 PP
15 PK
Los Angeles Off vs  Montreal Def
2.54 GF
2.12 GA
30.8 Shots
31.7 Shots
9 PP
16 PK