(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Kings have struggled on the road this season, though a trip to Buffalo to take on the Sabres could help the club get on track.
History, though, says otherwise.
The Kings open up a five-game road trip looking to win in Buffalo for the first time since 2003.
Los Angeles is a mere 3-4-4 on the road this season and heads to the road coming off a rare home loss as well. The Kings were bested 2-1 on Saturday afternoon by the Philadelphia Flyers, falling to 11-4-1 as the host this season.
Justin Williams had the lone goal, giving him five tallies and 10 points in his last 10 games, and Jonathan Quick faced only 16 shots, making 14 saves.
Los Angeles matched a season low for shots allowed in a game and had won three of four coming in. Not only that, all three wins had come via a shutout, including back-to-back whitewashes of Boston and Arizona.
But the Kings could not overcome a slow start, with Williams making mention of the early start out west.
"We weren't prepared for the one o'clock game today. At the same time, times when you're behind you have a chance to come back and we certainly had our chances to come back to atone for our start of the game," Williams noted. "We got some shots blocked, they got some clears and the end result was a loss."
Los Angeles was without forward Marian Gaborik for a fourth straight game because of a lower-body injury, but he appears near a return. He took part in practice on Sunday, skating with Williams and Anze Kopitar.
Kopitar has just five goals and 12 points in 24 games this season and has gone nine straight without a goal. He did, however, light the lamp in a 2-0 win over visiting Buffalo on Oct. 23.
Jeff Carter also scored and Quick made 29 saves in the win, while Jhonas Enroth stopped 37 shots in a losing effort.
Los Angeles will try to duplicate that effort tonight and get its first road victory over Buffalo since Feb. 21, 2003. The Kings have lost five in a row in Western New York since and are 1-10-1 with a tie in their past 13 trips there.
Quick, however, is 4-0-0 with a 1.48 goals against average, .933 save percentage and two shutouts in six career meeting with the Sabres, including five starts.
The Sabres will play their next four at home after losing a pair of road games to Tampa Bay and Florida. The Sabres had won six of seven before that two-game trip, but were bested 5-0 by the Lightning two days before a 3-2 setback to the Panthers on Saturday.
Michal Neuvirth made 34 saves in his first start since Nov. 18, while Drew Stafford and Brian Gionta had the goals. Stafford was playing for the first time in four games after sitting out with a lower-body injury.
Despite the loss, coach Ted Nolan was pleased with the club's improvement from the effort against the Lightning.
"That's the way we got to play," said Nolan. "Unfortunately, we came up on the short end at 3-2, but those are the type of games we have to play, hard- fought. We played physically, we made a lot of hits, we had a few chances, we missed them and they capitalized on one of our mistakes on the third goal."
It is unknown if Neuvirth or Enroth will start this game. The former is 0-1-0 with a 2.27 GAA and .889 save percentage in two games (1 start) lifetime versus the Kings, while Enroth has lost both of his starts against them despite a solid 2.04 GAA and .940 save percentage.