Kings face Senators, look to continue hot road start

The Los Angeles Kings will try to continue their dominance on the road when they visit the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.

The Kings are 4-0-0 in away games this season, including Tuesday’s 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ten different Los Angeles players had at least one point, and goalie Cam Talbot again was sharp in stopping 29 of 30 shots.

“(Toronto) is a tough building to play in,” Talbot said. “They come out really hard, and they have a ton of talent over there. This was as complete a 60 minutes as we’ve played all year.”

No opposing arena this season has proved to be too difficult for the Kings, who have started the 2023-24 campaign on a record pace away from home. This is the first time in franchise history that the Kings have won their first four road games in a season.

Talbot earned the win in each of those four road games and has an overall 4-2-1 record, with a 2.47 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage. While Los Angeles wants to get the struggling Pheonix Copley going, Talbot is simply the hotter hand and might be more likely to start again Thursday.

Kevin Fiala has 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) over an eight-game points streak. He has the longest assist streak in the NHL this season and the longest assists streak of any Kings player since the 2005-06 season.

Los Angeles (4.33 goals per game) is first in the league in scoring, and Ottawa (4.0) is tied for third. The Senators’ shots-per-game average of 34.5 also is one of the NHL’s best.

The Senators were outshot 43-26 against the Pittsburgh Penguins last Saturday, yet Ottawa won 5-2. Goaltender Joonas Korpisalo stopped 41 of 43 shots, while Senators skaters blocked 22 shots.

It was a gritty defensive effort from a team that is still undermanned on the blue line. Defenseman Thomas Chabot will miss three to five more weeks due to a fractured hand, Erik Brannstrom is day-to-day because of concussion symptoms and Artem Zub has missed Ottawa’s last four games after being hit in the head by an Alex Ovechkin shot.

Zub seems to be the defenseman closest to returning, though he still wore a non-contact jersey while participating in Tuesday’s practice.

“There was a lot of stopping, starting and banging into each other, so we’ll get a read here after (Tuesday),” Senators coach D.J. Smith told the Ottawa Citizen. “The organization is never going to put a player in a situation unless he’s 100 percent. Today was a big test for (Zub); we’ll see how he reacts to that and then we’ll go from there.”

Korpisalo has started each of Ottawa’s last two games, but Anton Forsberg might get the nod Thursday since the two goalies have mostly alternated games this season.

Ridly Greig has been a breakout star in Ottawa’s lineup, leading all NHL rookies with seven points (two goals, five assists) in October.