The best and worst teams in the Western Conference square off at Staples Center on Tuesday as the Detroit Red Wings try to continue their recent mastery of the Los Angeles Kings.
Detroit (35-10-4) already knows it will go into this weekend's All-Star break with the league's best record, and Los Angeles (19-28-2) will enter it with the worst record in the West.
Considering these teams often have been at opposite ends of the West standings in recent years, it comes as no surprise the Red Wings have dominated this series lately. They have won 15 of the last 16 meetings, with the only loss coming in Los Angeles last season.
Detroit's two wins over the Kings this season have been by a combined 10-3 score, with Tomas Holmstrom and Henrik Zetterberg combining for four goals and four assists.
"There's an absolute reason why they're the best team in the league," Kings goaltender Jason LaBarbera said after a 6-2 loss at Detroit on Dec. 19 in the most recent meeting.
"All four lines are on the same page and all six D are on the same page."
The Red Wings have won back-to-back games since losing a season-high three straight, and are coming off a 6-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.
That matched the highest-scoring game of the season for Detroit, which has totaled a league-high 169 goals.
Zetterberg scored his team-leading 28th goal and added two assists Saturday while Holmstrom ended a six-game goal drought by scoring his 18th of the season. It came in the opener of a three-game West Coast trip which ends Wednesday in Anaheim.
Dominik Hasek made 15 saves in Saturday's win and has not allowed more than three goals in 15 consecutive starts, though he continues to split time with Chris Osgood. Hasek is 11-2-1 with a 1.63 goals-against average in his last 15 games and he's won six straight starts against Los Angeles, posting a 1.83 GAA.
Osgood has lost his last two starts, surrendering nine goals.
The Kings have received fairly inconsistent goaltending from LaBarbera lately. He's given up three goals or more in five of his last seven starts.
LaBarbera allowed five goals in a 6-1 loss to Calgary on Friday, but bounced back the following night to stop 43 shots -- his second-most of the season -- in a 4-3 win over Vancouver.
"I really didn't feel like I played that bad last night, things just didn't go our way," LaBarbera said. "As a team we knew we had to refocus and regroup. I felt like if I gave the team a chance to win they would find a way to come up with a victory and the guys managed to score a few goals for me."
The Kings have won four of five, including two straight at home.