Los Angeles (3-4-2) has gotten off to a rocky start in the 2012-13 campaign and have lost three of its last four games. Coming into this contest, the Kings are in the cellar in the Pacific Division.
The Kings have been suffering from a lack of both offense and defense so far this season. L.A. is ranked No. 25 in the NHL in goals per game (2.1) and No. 22 in goals against per game (3.0).
The Red Wings (6-4-1) have gotten off to a better start in the season. Detroit sits in a tie for second place with the Nashville Predators in the Central Division.
Detroit is ranked No. 15 in goals per game (2.7), but it hasn't done a good job stopping the puck from going in the net, as evidenced by its No. 20 ranking in goals against per game (2.9).
Let's take a look at everything you need to watch in the first of three meetings between these two teams.
When: Sunday, Feb. 10, at 12:30 p.m. ET
Where: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Watch: NBC (Check local listings)
Live Stream: NHL GameCenter
Best Storyline: Who Can Make the Most of Power Plays?
If there's one thing both of these teams have in common, it's the fact that neither are good in the power play or penalty killing situations.
Detroit has proven to be one of the worst teams in the NHL in both departments. The Red Wings are ranked No. 26 and No. 29 in the power play and penalty kill, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Kings aren't much better as they ranked No. 27 and No. 17 in the power play and penalty kill, respectively.
There's no question penalties will occur in this matchup, but it remains to be seen if either can capitalize on a man advantage. Clearly the Red Wings have done a solid job getting by without much success in either facet, but a struggling offense like the Kings must make the most of their opportunities.
Key Injuries (Per ESPN.com)
Todd Bertuzzi (Back, Out)
Willie Mitchell (Knee, Out)
Key Players to Watch
Henrik Zetterberg, C
Zetterberg is just about as important as any player can be to a team. The Red Wings center leads the team in goals (tied with five), assists (11) and points (16).
The 32-year-old notched two assists in the Red Wings victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday afternoon and remains one of the team's biggest catalysts on the offensive end.
On top of that, two of Zetterberg's five goals have come on the power play, which just so happens to be one of the worst areas of Detroit's game thus far this season.
If Detroit is to have success on the offensive side against the Kings, it's likely that Zetterberg will play a major role, whether he sets his teammates up or finds the back of the net himself.
Jimmy Howard, G
Despite the recent success of rookie Petr Mrazek, Howard will get the start against the Kings.
Howard has had a lackluster season thus far with a GAA of 3.07. However, in his last start against the Oilers, Howard had 23 saves in 24 chances in the Red Wings victory.
Aside from that solid start, Howard has allowed three goals or more in six games this season. He certainly must improve on his play if he hopes to keep his starting job over the rookie goaltender sitting behind him.
His stellar performance against Edmonton could be the start of a turnaround for the 28-year-old and he'll have a great chance to keep the momentum going against a team like the Kings, who have trouble putting the puck in the net.
Simon Gagne, LW
Gagne has yet to find the back of the net this season, but he's found a way to contribute by other means.
The 32-year-old has assisted on five goals this season with three of them coming in his last three games.
While his assist totals are nice of late, the Kings would love for Gagne to help their struggling offense by scoring some goals. Granted, Gagne isn't the goal scorer he once was, but he's still very much a threat to put one in when he has the puck.
Regardless of how he does it, Gagne will be an important part of what the Kings do offensively and whether he's passing or shooting, L.A. needs all the help it can get from one of its best players.
Jonathan Quick, G
Quick's GAA of 2.66 is up from last season (1.95), but it's still very early and things could turn around from here on out.
The 27-year-old was the hero during the Kings' Stanley Cup run last year after posting a sick GAA of 1.41 in 20 playoff starts. Clearly Quick has the ability to dominate and when at his best, he's extremely difficult to beat.
We haven't seen that form yet this season, unfortunately, and the Kings could sure use it as they continue to have issues putting the puck in the net.
If that trend persists against the Red Wings, Quick must stand on his head in order to give his squad a fighting chance in this game.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!