Kings (2-1-1, 5 points) vs. St. Louis Blues (2-3-0, 4 points) at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.
Five storylines to track:
1. Unlucky seven: In recent years, the Blues have brought out the worst in the Kings. Dating to the 2009-10 season, they’ve lost seven straight against St. Louis. In last season’s four-game sweep, the Kings were outscored, 15-6. The low point came during a 4-0 loss in March at Staples Center, when the Kings were booed off the ice at the end of the second period. The fans, not the players, drew a post-game lashing from coach Terry Murray. Especially irritating, the Blues aren't exactly the Detroit Red Wings of late. They've missed the playoffs five of the last six years.
2. Home sweet home? Making matters more challenging is the Kings are playing their first home game only two days after returning from a 16-day trip that took them across the Atlantic Ocean and back. “You’ve got to find a way to dig down very deep and help your teammates," Murray said. "Push each other and support each other throughout the game." The Kings haven't exactly come out firing in recent home openers either, losing three of their last four.
3. Brown's slowdown: Kings captain Dustin Brown has yet to score a goal in the first four games but that’s not the statistic that’s jumping off the score sheet. Brown, who has led the Kings in hits the last six seasons while also finishing among the league leaders, has recorded just four hits this season, leaving him tied for sixth on the team. This is from someone who delivered 300 hits in 82 regular-season games last season, the first U.S. born player to hit that mark. At least Brown has been successful scoring against the Blues in the past, netting 12 goals in 25 career games, his second best goals-to-games ratio against any Western Conference opponent.
4. Jack has Drew's back: With defenseman Drew Doughty sidelined the next week to 10 days with a right shoulder injury, fellow blue-liner Jack Johnson will need to step up his offensive production. He got off to a good start after Doughty left Saturday night’s game in Philadelphia with the injury, recording a goal and an assist, including the skate-off winner in overtime. While Doughty was out six games early last season with a concussion, Johnson rose to the occasion, recording seven of his 37 assists.
5. Power play blues: It’s only a handful of games into the season, but the power-play units for both teams seem to be heading in different directions. The Blues were 10th in the league last season with a 18.5 percent success rate, while the Kings finished 21st at 16.2. Heading into Monday’s games, the Blues had converted just one of 20 extra-man situations, tying them for 27th out of 30 teams. The Kings, meanwhile, have converted on four of 16 power plays, tying them for fifth.