The Los Angeles Kings seem to be gaining confidence by the day.
With a lineup featuring four holdovers from their Stanley Cup championship teams in 2011-2012 and 2013-14 and some talented youngsters, the Kings have won three straight games and moved into third place in the Pacific Division.
They will look to extend the streak when they travel to Seattle to face the expansion Kraken for the first time Saturday night.
The Kings defeated visiting Pittsburgh 6-2 Thursday to cap a seven-game homestand in which they went 5-2-0.
Los Angeles scored three goals in a span of 1:23 early in the third period after the Penguins had tied the score at 2-2.
“Momentum is real. It’s a big part of hockey, a big part of sports,” said Kings rookie defenseman Sean Durzi, who had a goal and two assists. “I think after they scored, the response on the bench was really good. A lot of guys just talking it through, saying âLet’s bounce back.’ “
Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar had two goals and an assist and Dustin Brown tallied his 700th NHL point on his sixth goal of the season, later adding an assist. Goaltender Jonathan Quick made 27 saves.
Kopitar, Brown, Quick and defenseman Drew Doughty are the Kings players with championship rings and their names on the Stanley Cup.
Samuel Fagemo, who made his NHL debut Thursday, called the experience of playing with that quartet — and against the likes of the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin — “special for sure.”
“I think I’ve watched those guys since I was 4 or 5 five years old, so I was just so happy,” Fagemo said. “It was awesome being able to sit and watch those guys from the bench.”
Kings coach Todd McLellan said he’s excited about his team’s prospects.
“Young and old, we talk about that so much here. The kids coming in need to look up and see it done the right way. And our older players, the ones that are still here, do it the right way most of the time and they deserve a lot of credit for providing guidance,” McLellan said. “If you’ve had a big brother or sister at home that took care of you and showed you the way, it’s a lot easier than walking around aimlessly and we get that from our upper-end group.
“They’re strong believers and supporters of the kids that are playing now and the kids hopefully feel that.”
The Kraken could use a bit of guidance after losing their past eight games (0-7-1).
Though Seattle went 0-3-0 on its just-completed trip to Colorado, Dallas and St. Louis, the Kraken showed some positive signs. Against three of the better home teams in the league this season, they twice took the lead into the third period.
“It’s obviously not the way we want it to be,” said Alex Wennberg, who scored Seattle’s lone goal in Thursday’s 2-1 defeat to the Blues. “We’re finding ways to lose the game. We have the lead right now and again, it’s a third period where we give away some goals. I mean, we’ve got to find something here.
“We’ve got to step up and take responsibility for what’s going on.”
Goaltender Chris Driedger, who made 25 saves, allowed two third-period goals.
“Just frustrated,” Driedger said. “You’re never really feel happy after losing a game. It’s a team effort and I don’t think anyone is satisfied without getting two points. We’re just in one of those stretches where we’ve got to figure out a way to win.”