Sports

Devils try to play spoiler vs. Kings

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Kings beat New Jersey for the 2012 Stanley Cup title, but the Devils have a chance to play a spoiler role when the clubs meet Monday at the Prudential Center.

The Kings, winners of two of the league's last three Stanley Cup titles, are currently fighting for their playoff lives. With 82 points, Los Angeles is four behind the Winnipeg Jets for the last wild card spot in the Western Conference, but is only two behind the Calgary Flames for the third postseason bid from the Pacific Division.

L.A. has a game in hand to use over the idle Flames on Monday, while the Jets, who also have played one more game than the Kings, are playing Edmonton tonight.

The Kings are visiting New Jersey for just the second time since the 2012 Cup Finals. L.A., which defeated the New York Rangers for the NHL crown last spring, won the championship series against New Jersey in six games.

L.A. picked up a 2-0 win in its first trip back to the Garden State on Nov. 15, 2013, but the Devils have since won two straight in the City of Angels. Jersey has claimed four of the past five regular-season meetings in this series.

The reigning champions have not helped their playoff chances of late, losing two straight and three of their last four tilts. The Kings dropped a 3-2 overtime decision in Anaheim on Wednesday before getting handed a 4-1 defeat in Saturday's clash against the visiting Canucks.

Los Angeles was tied 1-1 with Vancouver heading into the third period on Saturday, but a costly penalty by forward Tyler Toffoli led to the Canucks potting the game-winner.

Toffoli was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for shoving Vancouver's Alex Burrows into the boards from behind at the 4:05 mark of the third period. Radim Vrbata cashed in on the extender power play, beating Jonathan Quick just 26 seconds after Toffoli was whistled for boarding.

Daniel Sedin and Bo Horvat tacked on empty-net goals in the final minute to seal the win for the Canucks.

Quick was excellent in defeat, stopping 38-of-40 shots for L.A. Marian Gaborik accounted for the his team's only goal, while Anze Kopitar assisted on the marker for his 600th career point.

"(The game) kind of drifted away a little bit," Gaborik said. "They had that long power play there, so that took the wind from us a little bit. We were pushing at the end, but just couldn't score that second goal."

L.A. hopes to rebound on the road, where it is just 12-14-7 this season. Tonight's test begins a five-game swing and the Kings will continue the trip Tuesday evening against the New York Rangers.

Toffoli's hit on Burrows was reviewed by the NHL, but has decided not to fine or suspend the forward.

Forward Jarret Stoll has missed the last four games for the Kings with an undisclosed injury and is questionable for Monday. Defenseman Alec Martinez (concussion) was activated off injured reserve on Friday, but did not play on Saturday. Martinez could see his first action since Feb. 7 this evening.

The Kings also could have a familiar face back in the fold tonight after Mike Richards was recalled Sunday from the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL. The forward was part of both Cup runs with L.A., but was sent down to the Monarchs in January. Richards posted three goals and 11 assists in 16 games with the Monarchs after recording just 15 points (5 goals, 10 assists) in 47 games with the NHL club this season.

The Devils, who are 11 points out of a playoff spot in the East, had won three straight before losing Saturday's home test against the New York Islanders. The Isles had lost four in a row before Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves to anchor a 3-0 shutout in New Jersey.

Cory Schneider stopped 27 shots for the Devils, who were shut out for the first time since a 3-0 setback in Boston on Jan. 8.

"I thought we matched the intensity, I thought we matched the effort, " said Schneider.

New Jersey leading goal-scorer Mike Cammalleri missed a second straight game because of an illness, but veteran forward Patrik Elias played against the Islanders after being held out three games because of back spasms.

Cammalleri, who has 25 goals, is questionable for tonight. The 32-year-old was a second-round draft pick by Los Angeles in 2001 and has recorded 10 goals and 16 points in 19 career games against his old club.

The Devils are 18-11-8 as the host this season. After tonight, New Jersey will close out March by playing three of four on the road. Next up is Thursday's game in Washington.