The New Jersey Devils have lost their last two games and faced an almost impossible test against the surprising Los Angeles Kings goalkeeper Jonathan Quick.
Breaking that streak got a bit easier, whenKings coach Terry Murray announced Jonathan Bernier would get the start in the net for LA. The Devils will look to sweep the season series against the Kings at the Staples Center.
Bernier lost his only start this season, allowing four goals against the Buffalo Sabres on October 8. He's never faced the Devils.
Quick is riding a three-game shutout streak and has five wins this season. His only loss came in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Devils on October 13. He stopped 36 shots in that game, but both Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk scored on him during the shootout.
New Jersey takes on the Kings looking to end a two-game skid. The Devils dropped back-to-back games this weekend, allowing seven goals in those two contests. They dropped Friday night's contest to the San Jose Sharks, 4-3, in a shootout. The Devils held leads of 2-0 and 3-2 in that game.
The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Devils, 4-1, Saturday in Pittsburgh. Tied at one heading into the third period, the Penguins scored three goals to sink New Jersey. The Devils remain winless in two games against Atlantic Division opponents. They also lost to the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-0, on opening night.
The Devils lost more than two games during the weekend. Jacob Josefson fractured his right clavicle during the first period of Friday's game, and will miss three to four months after undergoing surgery. That injury, coupled with the loss of Travis Zajac during the summer, leaves the Devils with little depth up the middle. Coach Peter DeBoer made a necessary change in practice yesterday, moving Parise to center on the top line between Ilya Kovalchuk and Nick Palmieri.
The Devils' captain was surprised by the move.
"I just kind of assumed when I saw I had the same jerseys as Nick and Kovy, they weren’t going to be playing center," Parise told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. "So, I just kind of assumed that I was and they said it out on the ice we were going to try it out."
"Obviously with Joe and Zajac both out, it’s something that was sitting in the back of our minds that he’s played center before," Devils coach Peter DeBoer told Gulitti. "He’s a versatile guy and he seemed like the best candidate considering the circumstances."
Former coach Brent Sutter used Parise as a center during the start of his rookie season in 2005-06 and briefly during the 2007-08 season. Parise also played the position during college.
The Kings enter tonight's contest riding a four-game win streak. They defeated the Dallas Stars, 1-0, Saturday night in Los Angeles. Jack Johnson snapped a scoreless tie with 4:58 remaining in regulation, tallying his third goal of the season. Former Flyers' captain Mike Richards picked up his fifth assist of the year on the game-winning score. Quick stopped 27 shots in the win.
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty won't play in tonight's game. The defenseman is still recovering from an upper-body injury.
The game kicks off a three-game Western Conference swing for New Jersey. They face the Phoenix Coyotes Thursday night and end the trip against the Dallas Stars on Saturday.