Game Day #4: Kings vs. Senators Preview

Bobby Ryan looks on in the background as Dwight King celebrates, presumably, something other than a goal. - USA TODAY Sports

The LA Kings, who apparently now suck, host the Ottawa Senators, who apparently traded for a fat guy.

Ottawa Senators vs. Los Angeles Kings (Staples Center)

Time: 7:30 pm

TV: Fox Sports West

Enemy Reading: Silver Seven Sens

Senators (projected) lineup:

Michalek - Da Costa - Ryan
MacArthur - Turris - Conacher
Greening - Pageau - Condra
Kassian - Smith - Neil

Methot - Karlsson
Cowen - Wiercioch
Phillips - Corvo

Anderson
Lehner

Injured: Mark Stone, Jason Spezza (groin, didn't skate Monday, expected to be in lineup tonight actually nevermind he's not playing yay!)

Kings (projected) lineup:

Brown-Kopitar-Williams
Carcillo (?)-Richards-Carter
Clifford-Lewis-Frattin
Fraser-Stoll-Nolan

Regehr-Doughty
Mitchell-Voynov
Martinez (??)-Greene

Quick
Scrivens

Injured: apparently no one! Scratched: King, Muzzin, Ellerby

Game Notes:

  • Sorry I have to be the one to break this to y'all, but the Los Angeles Kings are apparently really bad at hockey now. Furthermore, Jonathan Quick is a terrible goaltender. Another SBN blogger is here to tell you all about it:

Yes. If you remove the best career season from a goalie who has played less than 300 games, one in which he posted a .929 sv% over 69 appearances, he's apparently below league average. This is an argument that went on basically all night long Monday on Twitter, for obvious reasons (Quick's frankly amazing gaffe against the Rangers). Of course, if you *also* remove last season's abbreviated .902 sv% campaign, in which Quick was coming off of massive back surgery, Quick wouldn't be below league average anymore. But that wouldn't support Mr. Berkshire's opinion that Quick is "pretty crap" so why remove both the high and low outliers when just removing the high one makes your point look better? Nevermind that the idea of removing just the high outlier is statistical idiocy. Oh, and there's also the little matter of Quick's playoff stats. SBN's San Jose Sharks blog, of all places, came to Quick's defense on that:

Yeah Andrew, should we? I mean, we're not talking about a goalie who's appeared in a couple of first-round exits: Quick has made an even *fifty* playoff appearances in his career thus far with the Kings. FIFTY. That's more games than the entire lockout-abbreviated 2012-13 season. So what was Andrew's answer for not including Quick's .929 sv% in 50 career playoff games into his average (which would obviously help shoot a rather large hole into his "Quick is a below-league-average goalie outside that one regular season" theory)? "Because reasons." I'm probably paraphrasing there, but there wasn't much more to it than that.

Is Jonathan Quick the best goalie in the world? Probably not. Is he a "below league average goalie"? Nope. The answer, as with almost all things in this wacky world of ours, lies somewhere in between. He's a good goalie prone to giving up hilariously soft goals, who probably is on an onerous contract (due to length, not really due to cap hit when you look at what, say, Pekka Rinne came in at for instance) he won't be able to live up to by the end. Simple as that. But I guess it's more fun to make outlandish, inflammatory statements than nuanced ones, so carry on, internet.

Now, are the Kings as a whole bad? That's a more complicated question to answer, but I think the short one would be "not really, but they sure need to get their act together in the defensive zone". And as you can see with my Martinez prediction, I expect there to be a change there tonight. Darryl Sutter seemed to be particularly annoyed with Jake's play in his postgame quotes on Monday, and even stated that he didn't see much of a difference between playing Alec and Jake right now. That kind of statement coming off a couple of losses would lead you to believe Alec has a good shot at getting into the lineup tonight, and indeed he was paired up with Matt Greene in practice yesterday (while Muzzin was paired with Keaton Ellerby). I'm sure many of us around here welcome this change, but who knows what A-Mart has in the tank, having yet to play in a regular season game so far this season.

  • Back to your regularly scheduled preview bullets, what about the Kings' opponents tonight, the Ottawa Senators? The Sens have only played two games thus far, a 1-0 victory over the Sabres in Buffalo last Friday night (after Erik Karlsson broke a scoreless tie with just 1:35 remaining in regulation), and then lost in a shootout to their hated rivals in Toronto 5-4, after blowing a 4-2 lead. Two games is an even less relevant sample size to draw from than our own three, but so far that Ryan/Spezza team-up blockbuster we heard about all summer long has been overshadowed by the Sens' second line instead. Spezza scored a goal against the Leafs, assisted by Ryan & Michalek, but that's been it for their total output thus far. Meanwhile, the second line has been on the ice for the other four of the team's five total goals, and their #fancystats are even better, with all three having Corsi percentages above 60% to start the year. Containing that second line of MacArthur-Turris-Conacher will be a significant challenge, especially for a Kings blueline that has had a lot of trouble playing in their own zone so far this year.
  • As far as that top line goes, Spezza did miss practice on Monday due to a lingering groin issue, but their head walrus impersonator coach Paul MacLean said he expects him in the lineup for Wednesday's game. Obviously if he can't play and the lines have to be shuffled around, especially if that means Turris moves up and breaks up that aforementioned dynamite second line, the Kings will consider themselves beneficiaries of good fortune.
  • Bobby Ryan: fat or just big boned? That was apparently a topic of conversation on Hockey Night in Canada this past Saturday. MacLean, predictably, didn't agree with their take, but did admit that speed is "not his dimension", whatever that means (is Bobby Ryan a wizard? did he come to us through a stargate?). Fat or not, the Kings will be the first to welcome him back to SoCal following his offseason trade from the Anaheim Ducks.
  • Daniel Alfredsson isn't there anymore, of course, having signed with the Detroit Red Wings last July. Somehow the team appears to be doing OK without his #leadership and #grit and #determination and #otherimpossibletoquantifybutapparentlyimportantthings. That last one is a long hashtag, I don't recommend using it.
  • Back in Los Angeles, the forward lines are very up-in-the-air right now, and the projected lineup is my best guess. Yes, that includes Dan Carcillo on the second line, which is where he was in practice. I'm sure that probably made you scream in terror too, because he's not very good at hockey, but don't worry: "Carbomb" skated "30-or-so times" with Mike Richards in Philly, so it will all work out! In less-depressing news, Trevor Lewis was moved to center in practice on a new look 3rd line with Clifford & Frattin (yes, right after the 3rd line finally had a good game against the Rangers is when Darryl decides to break them up, just go with it I guess). That move to center ended up working out pretty well for Lewis in the playoffs against San Jose, so I'm definitely not opposed to trying it out again. Stoll moved down to center the 4th line (pretty damn expensive 4th liner) with Colin Fraser moving to wing and Jordan Nolan remaining there. Dwight King skated with the usual Brown/Kopitar/Williams 1st line, which might indicate he could be the odd man out here. But there's also the usual warnings not to read too much into practice lines, everyone needs maintenance days, etc. etc. so who really knows. I think the Lewis-to-center thing is the most likely of all these moves to be something you'll see in tonight's game, and I'm praying to god the "2nd liner Dan Carcillo" thing isn't. We'll see.
  • Prediction: Dan Carcillo indeed starts on the second line, punches a linesman in the face, and then gets thrown out of the game after his second shift. Oh, and probably not-coincidentally, the Kings go on to win in overtime, 3-2. I was going to try and make a joke about a ridiculous Quick goal allowed here, but I'm not sure I could actually come up with anything as outlandish as Monday's. Sorry guys.
  • (UPDATE: The healthy scratches tonight are indeed King/Muzzin/Ellerby, just going by who was last off the ice earlier today. So that lineup you saw further up is likely correct. YAY ALEC. BOO CARBOMB. Also, per Sens bloggers in our comments, apparently Spezza WILL miss tonight's game after all. Per the Silver Seven Sens preview, Spezza will be replaced by Stephane Da Costa on the top line tonight, wisely leaving the second line intact.)
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