LOS ANGELES — The Golden Knights hit the halfway point of the schedule Saturday afternoon when they open a two-game road trip against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center.
Opening faceoff is 1 p.m., and the game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain.
This is the second meeting in six days between the clubs and third this month. They also meet Jan. 1 at T-Mobile Arena.
“They’ve played well against us, obviously,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “We’ve got to make sure we’re ready to play them. We’ve got to play a harder game than we did last time in here. They walked out of here with two points in overtime. We thought we played OK, but not good enough to win, so we’ve got to play a better game.”
The Knights (21-15-4, 46 points) are expected to debut new bottom-six line combinations, with William Carrier joining Cody Eakin and Ryan Carpenter on the third line. Tomas Nosek is projected to play with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Ryan Reaves on the fourth line.
Bellemare missed Thursday’s 2-1 victory over Colorado for personal reasons, but Gallant said Friday after practice that Bellemare will make the trip and be available to play.
Defenseman Colin Miller was placed on injured reserve Saturday, though he traveled with the team for its annual Dad’s Trip.
Malcolm Subban is expected to start in net on the first game of the back-to-back and remains in search of his first victory (0-5, 3.49 goals-against average, .881 save percentage).
The Knights claimed forward Valentin Zykov off waivers from Edmonton on Saturday and it’s not known whether he will be available to play.
“L.A.’s had our number this year,” Fleury said. “We owe them, I think. Two important points again. Every game feels like that because the standings are so close. When you play in the division, you always want to get that little step on them.”
Los Angeles (15-20-3, 33 points) has won four straight in its effort to climb out of the Pacific Division cellar.
The Kings defeated Arizona 2-1 on Thursday, with Dustin Brown netting the winner early in the third period. Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick made 26 saves.
Kings center Jeff Carter did not play against Arizona but was a full participant in Friday’s practice.
Defenseman Dion Phaneuf also practiced Friday but is not expected to play against the Knights.
Golden Knights projected lineup
Jonathan Marchessault-William Karlsson-Reilly Smith
Brandon Pirri-Paul Stastny-Alex Tuch
William Carrier-Cody Eakin-Ryan Carpenter
Tomas Nosek-Pierre-Edouard Bellemare-Ryan Reaves
Brayden McNabb-Nate Schmidt
Shea Theodore-Deryk Engelland
Jon Merrill-Nick Holden