Sports

Devils begin California swing in LA

(SportsNetwork.com) - Despite an extended break between games, the New Jersey Devils will still be shorthanded when they head out west on Wednesday to battle the Los Angeles Kings.

The Devils begin a three-game swing through California as they visit Anaheim on Friday before a clash with San Jose the following Monday. However, they'll be minus a pair of skaters for their trip to Los Angeles as neither Jaromir Jagr or Tuomo Ruutu traveled with the team due to illness.

Jagr is New Jersey's leading scorer with 25 points in 43 games, having posted nine goals with 16 assists, and has missed just one game this season. Ruutu has five goals and three assists in 43 games.

The Devils are in action for the first time since Friday's 3-2 overtime loss at home to the New York Islanders. John Tavares tied the game late in the third period for the visitors and then won it in the extra session on an impressive sequence.

Tavares lifted the stick of Devils defenseman Adam Larsson below the goal line to acquire the puck, moved in on net and finished the play with a wrister past the blocker of Keith Kinkaid for the win.

Travis Zajac and Scott Gomez lit the lamp for the Devils, who have lost 12 of their past 16 games. Kinkaid turned aside 28 shots in defeat.

"I gotta find a way in the third period to keep them off the board," Kinkaid said.

Cory Schneider will get the call at the start of this road trip and is a solid 3-1-0 in his career versus the Kings with a 1.00 goals against average and .962 save percentage. That span includes one shutout.

The Kings, meanwhile, are looking to get on a roll after losing the first three contests of a seven-game homestand (0-1-2) prior to Monday's 2-0 blanking of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Martin Jones made his first start in net since Dec. 12 and halted 19 shots for his third shutout of the season and seventh of his career. He reached that mark in just 29 career games, surpassing Steve Mason (32 games in 2008-09) as the fastest goaltender in the modern era (1967-68) to record seven shutouts, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"We did a good job of checking a pretty high octane offensive team," Jones said following his first start since Dec. 12.

Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist, picking up the winning goal just 37 seconds in on a shot that hit off the in-goal camera and out. Play carried on for about a minute until a stoppage, with the officials finally awarding Kopitar a goal following a review.

Marian Gaborik had an empty-net goal to give him 10 goals and 15 points in his past 12 games, while Kopitar has amassed four goals and 16 helpers in his past 12. Jeff Carter assisted on both goals.

Despite Jones' success on Monday, Jonathan Quick is likely to start tonight and he is 3-1-1 lifetime versus the Devils with a 1.97 GAA and .937 save percentage.

Still, New Jersey has won three of the past four meetings overall and two straight in L.A.