The Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday are returning home, where they have thrived, but they will be facing the Los Angeles Kings of the road.

The Kings have won each of their three road games, against two home losses, and come to Pittsburgh off of a comeback 4-3 shootout win Tuesday at Nashville.

That win — which came in the second half of a back-to-back after a 5-4 overtime win Monday at Detroit — spurred a lot of confidence for Los Angeles.

“It’s huge,” goaltender Cal Petersen said. “We’re going to inevitably have situations like this again throughout the season, and we can reach back and know that we’ve done it before.

“It’s part of our identity now, and it was part of it last year, so now we have the confidence that we’re never out of it and we can find ways to come back and get points, win games.”

The Kings are facing their third game in four nights and fourth in six — and so took a full day off Wednesday.

“We’ve played five games already … and if you think about exhibition season even when we started to play all the veteran players, we played every second night for two and a half weeks,” Los Angeles coach Todd McLellan said. “That’s taxing both mentally and physically. (So we showed) character with the comeback win.”

The Kings will be without forward Alex Iafallo, who was put on injured reserve Tuesday because of a lower-body injury. The status of defenseman Alexander Edler is in question. He missed his second straight game Tuesday after taking a puck to the face Monday in warmups.

Pittsburgh has played just three games compared with the Kings’ five, but it has had the opposite results — dominant wins at home, both 6-2, against Arizona and Tampa Bay, followed Monday by a 3-2 overtime loss at Montreal, with the Canadiens erasing a two-goal deficit in the third period.

“We were probably the better team in the second period, but that’s the only period,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said of the game in Montreal. “It’s hard to win in this league when you only play one period.”

Pittsburgh has a couple things going for it despite coming off that loss.

The Penguins will be back home after those two lopsided wins, which were paced by veteran captain Sidney Crosby, who had a goal and two assists in each of those home contests and was named the season’s initial No. 1 star of the week by the NHL.

The team’s other veteran center and core player, Evgeni Malkin, scored both goals against the Canadiens and has three overall to lead the Penguins. His teammates also have pointed out how strong he looks on his skates.

That, at least early on, answers some doubt about Malkin’s effectiveness after he re-signed over the summer and, at age 36, is coming off major knee surgery in 2021 that forced him to miss the first half of last season.

“I feel my confidence,” Malkin said. “I feel like I’m still a good player.”

The Penguins have remained healthy so far, with the only exception being fourth-line center Teddy Blueger, who has been dealing with an upper-body injury dating to the preseason.

–Field Level Media