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GAME: Detroit Red Wings (27-14-6-2) at Los Angeles Kings (18-14-10-5).TIME: Thursday, 10:30 p.m. EST.
Considering all they've been through, it's amazing the Los Angeles Kings are where they are in the Western Conference standings.
The Kings will try for their first three-game winning streak since the beginning of November when they take on the visiting Detroit Red Wings.
Despite being decimated by injuries and having suffered through an embarrassing 14-game winless streak (0-3-9-2), the Kings are very much alive in the Western playoff race.
With Tuesday's 4-1 win over Calgary, the Kings sit in eighth place in the conference, one point ahead of Dallas and three back of seventh-place Nashville. With a win Thursday, they will match their longest streak since Nov. 1-6.
The Kings sit in second place in the Pacific Division, four games above .500 despite missing several regulars due to injury, including leading scorer Zigmund Palffy, who is out for the season following reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder.
Los Angeles, which at one point this season had nine players on the injured list, has played without top center Jason Allison and rugged winger Adam Deadmarsh all season, and is currently missing winger Martin Straka and top defenseman Aaron Miller. The Kings have also played without center Jozef Stumpel and goaltender Roman Cechmanek for stretches.
In the win over Calgary, Ian Laperriere scored twice and Derek Armstrong had a goal and an assist.
"We're a hardworking team, and we have to put our hard hats on and play the same way every night," Armstrong said. "We're not going to score many pretty goals without all those guys we have injured, because they're hard to replace."
The Central Division-leading Red Wings have been relatively injury-free since losing defenseman Derian Hatcher to a knee injury on Oct. 16.
However, Brett Hull is suffering through a career-high 20-game scoring drought, dating to his overtime goal on Dec. 8 which gave the Red Wings a 3-2 win over the Kings. The goal moved Hull into third place on the all-time list with 732.
Leading scorer Pavel Datsyuk had just two goals in his previous 14 games and none in his last seven before scoring on the power play in the Red Wings' 2-2 tie at Anaheim on Wednesday.
Despite the recent lack of support from their big guns, the Red Wings have lost just four of their last 21 games (12-4-3-2).
Known more for his defensive play and work on the penalty killing unit, Kris Draper has picked up the slack for Hull and Datsyuk. The 32-year-old center, in his 11th season with Detroit, already has a career-high 19 goals and needs just four points to match his career high of 35, set last season.
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