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Kings-Blues Preview: All Jammed Up

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Instead of playing this game, I vote that we just continue to bask in the glory of Jeff "Cy Young" Carter.

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings are fifth in the West, with 24 points. The Blues are seventh in the West, with 24 points. The Sharks are sixth, the Wild are eighth, the Stars are ninth, and the Wings are tenth, all with - you guessed it - 24 points. The Northwest Division-leading Canucks are third, with 26 points. The terrible, horrible, no-good Oilers are fourteenth, with...20 points (aka, a three-game difference). The Western Conference is nuts, basically.

People have written ad nauseam about the implications of a shortened season, the importance of these so-called "four-point games", etc., etc., so I'm not going to get into it. The real important point is just that the Kings need to keep beating teams like the Blues, who are quite good (despite some weak shooting percentages and unfortunate goaltending). The Kings dropped the Blues convincingly in their last game, and played a solid possession game against the Predators - more of the same tonight would be nice to see.

Los Angeles Kings vs St Louis Blues (Staples Center)

Time
: 7.30 PM Pacific

TV: Fox Sports West

Seats: Los Angeles Kings tickets

Enemy reading: St Louis Game Time

Blues (projected) lineup:

Schwartz-Backes-Oshie
Perron-Berglund-Stewart
Sobotka-Porter-D'Agostini
Cracknell-Nichol-Reaves

Jackman-Pietrangelo
Redden-Shattenkirk
Russell-Polak

Halak

Injured: Tarasenko (concussion), Steen (shoulder), McDonald (knee), Langenbrunner (hip)

Kings (projected) lineup:

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

Muzzin-Doughty
Scuderi-Voynov
Ellerby-Martinez

Bernier

Injured: Greene (back), Mitchell (knee), Darryl Sutter's dog (presumably run over by Brad Richardson)

Game notes:

  • When asked about his first goal last night, Jeff Carter said, "Yeah, that was real ugly. I was trying to pass it backdoor there. That’s probably why I’ve got two assists all year." What a champ.
  • Coach Sutter reverted to the familiar line combinations above for most of the game against the Predators and they seemed to roll much more effectively. It seems likely that we'll see the Kings configured similarly tonight.
  • Jonathan Bernier starting both games of a back-to-back is obviously a bit noteworthy. While he hasn't been Jonathan Quick 2011-12 good, he's had better results than Jonathan Quick 2013 so far. According to Robert, Bernier saved 9/10 shots from within the scoring chance area last night, and apparently that was good enough to win him the start tonight. I don't think this hurts the Kings' chances to win (which is, I suppose, the point), but I'm a wee bit concerned that the time left for Quick to play himself out of his current difficulties is dwindling.
  • Although their strong blueline remains intact, the Blues - who had been an above-average offensive team in terms of goals per game - are missing some of their key scoring threats in Alexander Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Andy McDonald. They've been shut out two of their last five, and only mustered one goal in their last game, against Dallas on Sunday.
  • I've loved Wade Redden since I was a kid and it hurt my soul what the Rangers did to him and I'm very happy he's back in the NHL. That is all.
  • Go Kings Go