[7:00 PM] Kings @ Penguins

Who will WIN this matchup?

Los Angeles Kings (15-12-2)

@ Pittsburgh Penguins (20-7-3)


Starting Goalies:

Peter Budaj (LAK): Unconfirmed

Matt Murray (PIT): Likely


The Pittsburgh Penguins are averaging a robust 5.6 goals in December and look to extend their winning streak to eight games when the stingy Los Angeles Kings pay a visit Friday night. Captain Sidney Crosby (nine-game point streak) and fellow forward Evgeni Malkin (16 points, 10 games) lead the way for the Penguins, who have also won six straight at home to take over first place in the loaded Metropolitan Division.

The Penguins average a league-best 34.7 shots on goal per game and will be tested by the Kings, who allow a league-low 25.1. The Kings gave up 18 shots in a 4-1 victory over Detroit on Thursday to even their record at 1-1 on their mammoth nine-game road trip. Tyler Toffoli snapped a 10-game goal drought for Los Angeles, recording a pair of tallies to go along with an assist in the victory.

Leading scorer Jeff Carter (14 goals, 24 points) criticized his team after the 6-3 loss at Buffalo on Tuesday, calling it “fragile,” and the Kings responded with a solid effort in Detroit. Los Angeles outshot the Red Wings 31-18 and got 17 saves from Jeff Zatkoff, who may face his former team with fellow goalie Peter Budaj sporting a .859 save percentage this month. Drew Doughty is third on the team with 16 points and fellow defenseman Derek Forbort, a former first-round pick, is beginning to emerge with four points in his last five games.

Defenseman Kris Letang (lower-body) is expected to miss a few weeks and Pittsburgh recalled former first-round pick Derrick Pouliot to support the blue line. That should give more responsibility to Justin Schultz, who owns five goals in his last eight games. Crosby (21 goals) and Malkin (12) top the team with 33 points and Phil Kessel has contributed 31.

The Penguins have converted seven of 16 attempts on the power play the last three contests.


StreakSmarts Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins

Confidence: 7/10

StreakSmarter Pick