Kings-Oilers Preview: Celly Hard

Harry How

Did anything notable happen the last time these two teams played? I can't recall. Here's a picture of Ryan Smyth celebrating a goal to get you riled up.

Don Cherry promised me that the LA Kings would neither forgive nor forget their last game against the Oilers. I'm hoping that Don Cherry is, for once, correct. Nail Yakupov seems like a nice kid, but I hope the Kings come out mad enough to want to just eradicate him and his entire team from the ice. The Kings need a win badly (what else is new), fresh off of a sub-par 20-minute effort against the Chicago Blackhawks. The team comes into tonight's game a sterling 13th place in the West, while Edmonton sits 7th.

Nobody's busting out the #suckforseth or #losinfordrouin t-shirts yet, but there's really not much to say about this situation that hasn't already been said. The Kings remain one of the best (qualitatively), and unluckiest teams in the League. They are playing mostly very good, if not exactly thrilling, hockey. Luck can't be forced, the bounces will come, defence is still not the problem, Jonathan Quick will rebound, etc. Still, at a certain point, you want to watch your team win the games it should be winning. Let's hope that happens tonight.

Los Angeles Kings vs Edmonton Oilers (Rexall Place)

Time: 7.00 PM Pacific

TV: TSN, Fox Sports West

Enemy reading: Copper & Blue

Oilers (projected) lineup:

Hall-Nugent-Hopkins-Eberle
Hemsky-Hartikainen-Gagner
Smyth-Belanger-Yakupov
Paajarvi-Vandevelde-Eager

N Schultz-J Schultz
Petry-Smid
Whitney-Fistric

Khabibulin

Injured: Petrell (head), Jones (eye), Sutton (knee), Lander (foot), Horcoff (knuckle)

Kings (projected) lineup:

Clifford-Kopitar-Brown
King-Richards-Carter
Penner-Stoll-Williams
Lewis-Fraser-Nolan

Ellerby-Doughty
Scuderi-Voynov
Muzzin-Drewiske

Quick

Injured: Greene (back), Mitchell (knee), Martinez (too beautiful for this world/upper-body injury)

Game notes:

  • I just made up those lines! Again! Between injuries and chronic under-performance, it's difficult to ascertain what's going on with either of these teams' lines. Coach Sutter had the line combo blender going again in practice yesterday, so the Kings' forward set-up beyond ?-Kopitar-Brown/?-maybe Carter-maybe Carter is a mystery. Unlike the loaded Blackhawks, the Oilers have basically one main powerhouse driving their success (Taylor Hall), so we'll have to see if that affects how Coach Sutter rolls his lines.
  • As for the defencemen, Copper & Blue notes that both Justin Schultz (back) and Jeff Petry (hip) may be questionable for tonight, so we'll probably see Corey Potter and maybe Theo Peckham, back from a conditioning stint in the AHL. Potter-Fistric v Muzzin-Drewiske: what an enthralling heavyweight match-up.
  • The Oilers have also had terrible shooting luck this season thus far. Cross your fingers that statistical regression doesn't rear its head only on one end of the ice tonight.
  • The Kings' two goals against the Blackhawks were both on the powerplay, which was also excellent in the previous game against the Jackets. The penalty kill was good against the Jackets and less good against the Blackhawks. It's still hard to draw conclusions based on such small sample sizes, but the Kings' up-and-down special teams season continues.
  • No, there's no goalie controversy. But here's your obligatory mention of how Jonathan Quick must get better, soon. Preferably right now. Pretty much every one of these previews lately has ended with some variation of "this is crunch time", but now it really really is crunch time.
  • Go Kings Go

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