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Kings bring 6-game streak into tilt vs. reeling Senators

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The Los Angeles Kings won Stanley Cup titles in 2012 and 2014 with solid defense, superb goaltending and a grind-and-grit approach on the offensive end.

They seem to have rediscovered that style of play in recent weeks, despite playing with a patch-work defensive corps.

Los Angeles has won six in a row, allowing two goals or fewer in each victory. The Kings will try to continue the streak when they visit the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.

Many figured the Kings were in for a major slide when they lost former Norris Trophy winner Drew Doughty for two months because of a bruised right knee sustained against the Dallas Stars on Oct. 22.

Sure enough, Los Angeles gave up seven goals the following night in another loss to the St. Louis Blues, and then saw another defenseman, Sean Walker, go down with a season-ending knee injury in a 3-0 loss to the Blues on Oct. 25.

The Kings returned home and blew a 2-1 lead against the Winnipeg Jets in a 3-2 loss for their sixth straight defeat. They regrouped during the homestand, however, winning the next four games before heading on the road and beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1 on Monday and the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in overtime on Tuesday.

Calvin Petersen and Jonathan Quick have shared the goaltending duties during the winning streak, each starting three games.

“We found ways to weather the storm,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said after the win against Montreal. “I think, the fact that we’ve lost two pretty good defensemen, it sent a signal to everybody else that we’ve got to tighten it up all over the rink. We commit to that first, and then take our chances at the other end. It might not always be pretty, it might not always be the type of game that you want to watch, but it’s been working for us. We’re going to have to continue with that.”

Ottawa has lost five in a row (0-4-1) and continues to reel from a COVID-19 outbreak that has sidelined six players since Friday.

Josh Brown was added to the list on Wednesday, joining fellow defensemen Nick Holden and Victor Mete, and forwards Austin Watson, Connor Brown and Dylan Gambrell.

Anton Forsberg, a goalie, missed a 3-2 loss at the Boston Bruins on Tuesday with a non-COVID illness.

For precautionary reasons, the Senators did not practice on Monday or Wednesday.

“It’s tough times around with a lot of guys out with COVID-19,” Ottawa forward Drake Batherson said. “Hopefully, we can continue to play well and, with the guys we have out, it’s given other guys chances to play different roles, and that’s good.”

Zach Sanford played a season-high 15:29 against the Bruins and scored his first goal of the season. Nikita Zaitsev also notched his first goal of the season against Boston.

Alex Iafallo and Adrian Kempe have been the hot skaters for Los Angeles lately.

Iafallo has five goals and five assists in a seven-game point streak, and Kempe has a goal in four straight games, including the overtime winner in Montreal on Tuesday.

–Field Level Media

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