Yikes. We've taken a lot of heat around these parts for insisting that "defence is not the problem". And, largely, I maintain that we have been right. Against the Canucks on Saturday night, however, defence was definitely part of the problem. Jonathan Quick had a poor game, and the forwards, by and large, also had poor games, but the defence was abysmal. It wasn't so much that the Kings lost, it was that they very much deserved to lose. They didn't play like a team capable of beating capable teams like the Canucks, and that was worrying.
On top of that, they've played miserably against the Predators thus far this season, losing 2-1 (SO) and 3-0. Yes, the defending Stanley Cup Champions fell 3-0 to literally the worst offensive team in the League. The Predators are not a bad team, but they are also not a team against which the Kings should fall apart the way that they have been. To add insult to injury, the games haven't even been fun to watch. As Kings fans, I think most of us definitely understand the entertainment value of a strong defensive battle, but long stretches of those two games were excruciating to watch, and I hope, fervently, that we're not in for a repeat tonight.
Enemy reading: On the Forecheck
Predators (projected) lineup:
Kings (projected) lineup:
Injured: Greene (back), Mitchell (knee)
- Jonathan Quick: didn't stop the puck on Saturday.
- Jonathan Bernier: inexplicably good at beating the Predators; will likely be trying to stop the puck tonight.
- Alec Martinez: please be in the lineup. Please, please, be in the lineup.
- Anze Kopitar: still wearing a knee brace; may have gotten a little dinged up on Saturday.
- The Preds are healthier this go-around, the slumping (points-wise) Shea Weber has heated up lately, and our ex-boyfriend Rich Clune continues to punch people.
- Okay, I know these notes are very half-hearted, but I really can't think of that many reasons to get excited about this game.
- Fine, here is some fun with numbers. The Predators are 10th in the West, with 23 points in 22 games, and a 4-6-2 road record. They have lost their last two games, getting dumped by the Ducks on Wednesday and the Sharks on Saturday. Let's hope their California Tour of Pain continues.
- The Kings are 11th in the West today, with 22 points in 19 games, and a 5-1-1 home record. The powerplay is still operating at a woebegone 16%, the penalty kill at an almost exactly League median 82%.
- Look at this face:
(via Ikiri Photography on flickr)Trust this face.
- Go Kings Go