[Niesy, on some kind of world tour I think, composed this game preview on her phone (!) and asked me to post it for her. I couldn't be more impressed. -Q]
IN: Kari Lehtonen
Possible Stars lineup:
The Kings, as you may have heard, are dead last in scoring. Several key forwards experienced career low shooting percentages, and were expected to bounce back. Williams and even the maligned Penner are two examples of veterans with established scoring ability who picked up their pace after the All-Star break.
But with Gagne and Stoll out, and Penner going from praise in Tampa Bay to the doghouse against the Panthers, the Kings are now putting their hopes in a youth movement.
There's definite risk in this strategy. On the second and third lines, Nolan, King, Lewis, Loktionov, and Clifford -- five young players whose finishing ability is either low or unestablished at the NHL level -- are being asked to "carry the mail." Of those five, only Lokti has a track record of high scoring in Manchester. (Clifford came straight out of junior.)
Unless management brings in new players, these kids will all need to seize this opportunity and establish themselves quickly if LA is going to have a shot at the playoffs. So carpe that diem.