NHL on NBCSN: Kings, Red Wings fight to stay hot

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NBCSN’s ongoing coverage of the 2013 campaign will continue tonight when the Los Angeles Kings host the Detroit Red Wings at the Staples Center at 10:00 p.m. ET.

At first glance, the Los Angeles Kings might look like underperformers, but that’s not entirely fair.

They endured one of the roughest schedules for the first month of play. Only four of their first 17 games were at home and under those harsh circumstances, almost any team would have had trouble doing more than treading water.

That stretch is over now and the question is how they will hold up in the Staples Center. They have already comfortably beat the Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks, but sweeping this three-game home set with a win tonight will be a challenge.

Injuries have worn down the Detroit Red Wings this season more than almost any other team. At the same time, they’ve shaken off their recent struggles with commanding victories over the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks.

On top of that, Detroit should get Johan Franzen (hip flexor) back for this contest, according to the Detroit Free Press.

They have looked like a vulnerable team for much of the season without retired future Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstrom. Still, they’ve proven that – at least on some nights – they’re still the same dangerous Red Wings that have commanded the respect of their opponents for decades.

Probable goaltenders: DET- Jimmy Howard (8-6-2, 2.88 GAA, .901 SV%) | LAK – Jonathan Quick (6-5-2, 2.42 GAA, .906 SV%)

Top scorers: DET – Henrik Zetterberg (6-19-25, 19 GP) | LAK – Anze Kopitar (5-10-15, 16 GP)

Notable Injuries:
Detroit – Forwards: Valtteri Filppula (shoulder), Mikael Samuelsson (finger), Todd Bertuzzi (back), Darren Helm (back) Defensemen: Kyle Quincey (ankle), Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder), Brendan Smith (shoulder) Goaltenders: Jonas Gustavsson (groin)
Los Angeles – Defensemen: Alec Martinez (upper body), Willie Mitchell (knee), Matt Greene (back)

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