Los Angeles Kings v Florida Panthers (BB&T Center)
Time: 12.00 PM
TV: Fox Sports West
Enemy reading: Litterbox Cats
Panthers (projected) lineup:
Injured: Tim Thomas, Sean Bergenheim, Steve Pinizzotto, Ed Jovanovski; Scratched: Nick Bjugstad, Ryan Whitney
Kings (projected) lineup:
Injured: None; Scratched: Jake Muzzin, Keaton Ellerby
Is Ben Scrivens ever going to play a game as an LA King? Survey says: when Jonathan Quick literally collapses from exhaustion.#FreedBenScrivens
- The Kings head to Sunrise, Florida, for their first road game against the Panthers in about a year and a half. You may remember that the 2011-12 Kings-Panthers games were somewhat fraught with tension, what with Tomas Kopecky and Sean Bergenheim running around trying to headhunt and John Scott existing and Kevin Dineen mouthing off about the Panthers "thoroughly outplaying" the Kings after a fairly decisive loss. What an asshole.
- You may have forgotten the fact that the Panthers are paying a 37-year-old Ed Jovanovski $4.125 million dollars a year until 2015. Also, he's their captain. I will never forget, because seriously, isn't that hilarious?
- The Panthers come into this game fresh off a 6-3 win against Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and the Penguins. Sounds pretty impressive, until you rephrase it: "The Panthers come into this game fresh off of a 6-3 win against Jeff Zatkoff and the Penguins." Yes, our old friend Jeff Zatkoff made his NHL debut on Friday night, and it did not go so magnificently for him, as he got scored on twice by Brad Boyes.
- Brad Boyes, by the way, has as many goals as Jeff Carer, is leading the Panthers in goals, and was a great steal at his low cap hit. As was Tom Gilbert, who is unspectacular, but shores up a pretty weak defence. And I think reaching a bit to take Aleksandr Barkov was a good gamble by the Panthers. So what I'm trying to say is that I don't get you, Dale Tallon.
- Jeff Carter, also by the way, is carrying a shooting percentage of 21.05 so far this season. It was 19.55 per cent last season. Before that? 11.41, 10.75, 10.34, 13.45...you get the picture. League average shooting percentage for forwards hovers around 10.5 in the regular season. Jeff Carter is a very, very good goalscorer, but even he can't keep this up indefinitely.
- Unfortunately, he's not getting any help from the rest of the team. The Kings sit at 2.20 goals per game (which is miserable), and 30.4 shots per game (which is not particularly good). Plus, their PP %age of 26.3 per cent, so the conclusion is that it's basically even-strength goalscoring which is flatlining. Not encouraging.
- In an effort to promote goalscoring, Darryl Sutter has promoted that notorious sniper, Dwight King. He's also bumped Frattin down to the bottom six, and rejigged the third line that was supposed to be a defensive stronghold that was instead getting absolutely killed. I mean, I know Dan Carcillo has been okay, and you all know what I think about Dwight King, but I also think that, given the team's demonstrable unwillingness to call up prospect help, this might be as good as we're going to get for a while. So sit tight, and hope for the best.
- I'll be bringing back Fun! With! Numbers! after game 20 or so, because, frankly, statistics (whether basic or advanced) aren't useful, comparatively, in this first quarter of the season. I'll also be including a running tally of the Kings' underlying numbers, if only because seeing sentences like "The Hurricanes had 66 CORSI against the Kings" makes me want to gouge my eyes out.
- Prediction: Kings win 4-1, Dwight King scores, Kevin Dineen cries.