(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Kings hope to boost their playoff chances when they take aim at a third straight victory in Saturday's home showdown against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Kings, who claimed their second Stanley Cup in three years last spring, have won 10 of their last 13 games, but enter Saturday two points behind Winnipeg for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Los Angeles also is two behind Calgary and Vancouver for the last two automatic postseason bids from the Pacific Division. Calgary is idle tonight, while the Canucks visit the San Jose Sharks, who are only two points behind L.A. in the conference and division standings.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, is sitting third in the Metropolitan Division and is three points ahead of Washington after beating Anaheim on Friday. The Capitals host Buffalo on Saturday.
The Kings have followed a recent 0-3-0 slide with consecutive wins over Edmonton and Montreal. Los Angeles blew an early two-goal lead to the visiting Canadiens on Thursday before coming back to win 4-3 in the shootout.
L.A. scored twice in the first period and outshot Montreal by a 13-2 margin in the frame before the Habs evened the contest at 2-2 in the second stanza.
"We should've been up three or four to nothing," said L.A. head coach Darryl Sutter. "We didn't put it away when we had glorious opportunities in the second period."
Max Pacioretty handed Montreal its first lead with 12:48 left in the third, but Marian Gaborik scored on the power play with 45 seconds remaining in regulation to send it to overtime.
The Kings eventually won after Anze Kopitar scored the deciding goal in the fourth round of the shootout.
Gaborik scored twice, with both goals coming on the man advantage. Jeff Carter scored the other goal in regulation for the Kings, giving him four markers over the last three games.
Jonathan Quick made 15 saves for the win, which improved the Kings to 21-7-6 at the Staples Center. Quick is expected to start tonight and is 1-2-2 with a 2.90 goals against average in five career outings versus Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh hopes to extend its recent success when facing the Kings. The Penguins have won four of five and seven of the past nine meetings overall and have taken three of the last four in the City of Angels.
After losing the opener of a four-game road trip 3-1 in Colorado on Wednesday, the Pens slammed the Ducks, 5-2, last night. Patric Hornqvist scored twice during a three-goal second period to help Pittsburgh earn the victory at Honda Center.
Blake Comeau, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby all tallied a goal and an assist for the Penguins. Backup netminder Thomas Greiss made 27 saves in the win, which improved Pittsburgh to 17-8-6 on the road.
"I thought we really picked it up in the second period and until they got the first goal I thought we were in control," Pittsburgh head coach Mike Johnston said. "That was a good test for us and we met it."
Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to start tonight and the veteran netminder boasts a 5-2-0 record and 1.95 GAA in seven lifetime starts against L.A.
Prior to tonight's game, the Kings will unveil a statue of Luc Robitaille outside the Staples Center. The Hall of Fame forward is first all-time in goals scored for the franchise with 557 and second in points (1,154) and games played (1,077). Robitaille currently serves as the Kings' president of business operations and is one of the team's alternate governors along with Dan Beckerman and general manager Dean Lombardi.
Saturday's pre-game ceremony will be attended by fellow hockey greats Wayne Gretzky, Rob Blake and Mario Lemieux.