Clifford gets a promotion, and Gagne gets another shot -- but the Kings will be up against it until the top line is back in form.
The Oilers are coming off a blowout loss at home to San Jose, and the Kings have had two poor outings in a row. Get some redemption-themed storylines ready for one of these teams tonight!
Scratches: Potter, Hordichuk
Injured: Eager (concussion)
Scratches: Richardson, Bodnarchuk
Injured: Greene (back), Mitchell (knee)
- Willie Mitchell is cleared to play, but doesn't feel ready. Sutter sounds frustrated with that, but knowing that Mitchell had a setback by going too fast this summer, I can see his desire for caution.
- Despite the focus on injuries, the Kings' defense in the last game wasn't the real problem. Drewiske was solid and Muzzin looked fine (albeit in a sheltered role), and it'd be good to see them follow this up with another consistent effort. Doughty will probably log about 30 minutes again.
- Kopitar was ineffective in his season debut, and that's turned everything upside down. Ordinarily, Kopitar can line up against other top centers and still be relied on to generate scoring. Combine him not being 100% with Brown and Williams not yet being up to snuff, and you can see why Duchene and Stastny ate them alive.
- The Oilers like to keep their dynamic but defensively-challenged top line far away from tough matchups. Sutter might try to neutralize them with Richards, who took on more d-zone faceoffs and bounced back against Colorado.
- Clifford's play brought him a promotion to the second line, and that leaves two left wings in the doghouse. Gagne was a healthy scratch last time out, but gets the nod today. He skated with the fourth line in practice. Penner followed up a good game with a bad one, so he sits.
This is really anyone's game. The Oilers' penalty kill looks as atrocious as the Kings' power play (although the Oilers hope Fistric will help). Edmonton's defense can be patchy, but too many in LA's top six have been a shadow of their former selves.
That isn't normal and it shouldn't last; but any team facing the Kings as long as this holds should count themselves lucky.
While we wait, read up on Robert's stat review of the last game, and make your predictions. Are we in for a wild night?