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Preview, Game Day #31: Los Angeles Kings @ Montreal Canadiens

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"Scheduled start time of 7:30 eastern" so expect tonight's game to kick off just as you're tucking yourself into bed at 11 pacific.

another guy for y'all to whine about getting the norris before doughty
another guy for y'all to whine about getting the norris before doughty
Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Kings @ Montreal Canadiens

Time: 4:30 Pacific

TV: Fox Sports West, RDS, City Montreal

Enemy Reading: Eyes on the Prize

Los Angeles Kings

Lucic-Kopitar-Gaborik
Mersch-Carter-Toffoli
Pearson-Shore-Brown
Andreoff-Weal-Nolan

McNabb-Doughty
Muzzin-Martinez
Ehrhoff-McBain

Quick
(Enroth)

Scratched: Forbort Injured: Clifford, King, Lewis, Greene

Montreal Canadiens

Pacioretty-Plekanec-Byron
Eller-Galchenyuk-Andrighetto
Fleischmann-Desharnais-Weise
Carr-Mitchell-Flynn

Beaulieu-Subban
Emelin-Petry
Markov-Gilbert

Condon
(Tokarski)

Injured: Price, Smith-Pelly, Gallagher

Stats & Such
(Fancy stats courtesy War on Ice)

Team Kings Canadiens
Record 19-9-2 20-9-3
Points 40
43
Division Rank 1st 1st
Streak Lost 1
Lost 1
Goals For/Game 2.60 3.16
Goals Against/Game 2.20
2.28
ES Goal % 50.0
55.9
ES Shot %
54.9 52.8
ES PDO 98.8
100.9
ES Corsi % 57.2 52.9
ES Fenwick % 56.4 52.7
ES Scoring Chance % 55.5 50.5
ES High-Danger SC % 53.4
50.4
Power Play % (Rank) 18.2 (19th)
20.0 (11th)
Penalty Kill % (Rank) 84.5 (5th)
86.7 (3rd)
Starting Goalie (tonight) Quick Condon
Goalie Record 16-8-1 9-5-3
Save % .915 .912
ES Save % .922
.930

Notes:

  • The Eastern Conference road trip rolls into Montreal tonight, with the Kings looking to bounce back from their first regulation loss in the past ten games after that debacle in Ottawa Tuesday. With that game coming after an OT loss in Buffalo (their first of the season), the Kings are trying to bounce back from back-to-back losses for the first time in almost a month. Darryl Sutter thought they looked like "a tired team" in Ottawa; with two days off since, that excuse certainly won't fly tonight.
  • It looks like the forward lines may have changed a bit. There was an optional morning skate but everyone aside from Jeff Carter took part, including Trevor Lewis, who just joined the team in Montreal. Lewis skated on a line with Mersch & Toffoli, but one would expect that he was simply taking the spot of Carter and probably isn't quite ready to play tonight. Either way, it looks like we're trying Lucic with Kopitar & Gaborik again, something that hasn't been tried since the very start of the season. Mersch getting a spot on the 2nd line already would certainly be something. Pearson gets bumped down to the 3rd with Shore & Brown, and the 4th line remains unchanged, provided poor Jordan Weal actually gets to play rather than getting scratched for a 7th defenseman again.
  • Our opponents tonight are the Canadiens, who are putting together an even more impressive season than last year. If you'll recall, in 13-14 they had a monster 110-point campaign, but this was mostly on the strength of Carey Price's fantastic year (he finished with a .933 sv% in 66 games, winning the Hart & Vezina). The Habs were actually no great shakes when it came to the advanced stats, as they had just a 48.5% Corsi and 48.9% Fenwick at even strength. So far this year, Price's numbers are still quite good (.934 sv%) but he's played in just 12 of Montreal's 32 games due to a number of injuries (and he'll miss tonight's game as well). The Habs are thus getting much worse goaltending overall, as Price's understudies have underdelivered: Dustin Tokarski, last year's backup, has just an .888 sv% in his 4 appearences, while Mike Condon has a .912 sv% in 19 games (though his EV SV% is a much better .930). Instead, the Habs are getting it done with greatly improved puck possession stats, as they've climbed all the way up to a nearly 53% Corsi at even strength, a remarkable year-to-year leap. In the long run, they should be a far more formidable team this year, especially once Price finally does come back.
  • Let's hit the wrap-up because I'm literally falling asleep at my work desk as I type this. No Mega Man today; we'll get 'em next time.
  • PREDICTION: Kings win 2-1. Or we all fall asleep during whatever tonight's pre-game ceremony is and the game gets called off. I dunno, I'm just really into the idea of sleep right now, leave me alone.