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Preview: Game Day #73, Kings @ Rangers

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A Cup rematch, but that'll be forgotten real quick.

Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

Los Angeles Kings @ New York Rangers (Madison Square Garden)

Time: 4:00 PM PST

TV: NBCSN, SportsNet, MSG

Enemy Reading: Blueshirt Banter

Lineups:

Los Angeles Kings

Gaborik–Kopitar–Williams
King–Carter–Toffoli
Clifford–Richards–Lewis
Nolan–Shore–Brown

Muzzin–Doughty
Regehr–Sekera
Martinez–Greene

Quick
(Jones)

Scratched: McBain, McNabb, Shore; Injured: Pearson, Stoll; Suspended: Voynov

New York Rangers

Kreider–Stepan–Nash
Miller–Brassard–Zuccarello
Hagelin–Hayes–Fast
Glass–Moore–Sheppard

Girardi–McDonagh
Staal–Boyle
Yandle–Hunwick

Talbot
Skapski

Scratched: None; Injured: Lundqvist, Klein, St. Louis


Obligatory Standings Update (as of March 24, 2015)


Pacific Division Standings
Rank Team DIV GP W L OT P ROW
1 Anaheim P 74 46 21 7 99 38
2 Vancouver P 72 42
26 4 88 38
3 Calgary P 73 40
27 6 86 36
4 Los Angeles P 72
35 23 14 84
33
5 San Jose P 73
35 30
8 78 32

Wild Card Standings
Rank Team DIV GP W L OT P ROW
1 Minnesota C 73 41 25 7 89 38
2 Winnipeg C 73
38 23 12 88 31
3 Los Angeles P 72
35 23 14 84
33
4 Dallas C 73 35 28 10 80 32
5 Colorado C 72 33 27 12 78 24
6 San Jose P 73 35 30
8 78 32

(top three seeds in Pacific Division, top two seeds in Wild Card qualify for playoffs)

Game Notes:

  • Surprise! New Jersey, Edmonton, Toronto, and Colorado all were no match for the four teams competing for the final three playoff spots. San Jose basically removed themselves from contention with a loss to Andrew Hammond and the Sens, while Dallas triumphed in a must-win against Buffalo. The only game you'll really need to keep an eye on tonight other than this one is Winnipeg-Vancouver; if the Kings triumph tonight, they'll at least gain on someone.
  • But enough about other teams. The Rangers are tonight's opponent, and considering they're a cool 8-1-1 in their last ten, this is going to be a bit tougher than Monday's game.
  • On the bright side, Monday's game went really well, you guys! It's useful to keep an eye on ice time during the first game of a back-to-back, and with Drew Doughty under 30 minutes, eleven forwards between 11 and 20 minutes, and neither Alec Martinez nor Mike Richards pushed past their limits, I think Darryl Sutter's ice time allotment was decent.
  • If the Kings are happy with what Martinez showed yesterday, we should see him jump from 16:23 (last night's TOI) closer to the 19-20 minutes which were customary for him pre-injury.
  • Does Drew Doughty have a shot at the Norris? If he plays more games like he did yesterday and fewer like he did against Vancouver, perhaps. He contributed to LA's possession dominance quite a bit, and only Cory Schneider's glove proved effective against him. Doughty's quietly picked up 41 points, the most since he was a Norris finalist in 2009-10.
  • Darryl Sutter is ignoring conventional wisdom and going with the hot goaltender, as Jonathan Quick starts Game 2 of the back-to-back after starting Game 1. I generally hate this move, but with Quick carrying a .932 SV% in his last ten and having a relatively easy time of it yesterday, I at least see the argument.
  • Once again, Quick doesn't face Henrik Lundqvist; Cam Talbot is still manning the net in his absence.
  • It's a Cup rematch, but there won't be much focus on that; not only are both teams playing hard for other reasons tonight, but the Madison Square Garden portion of the Final last year was a little less contentious than the Staples Center portion.
  • PREDICTION: Kings win 3-0, spurred on by a buzzer-beating Jeff Carter goal in the first period.