Game Time: 4:30 PM Pacific, FS-W
The Kings hit the road for a swing through the Central and Eastern time zones, aka games where the west coast is all still at work. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Their first matchup on this non-time-zone-friendly trip sends them to Detroit for their first visit to the Red Wings; new, modern, less-sticky-floored arena.
The start of the season has certainly been up and down for the Red Wings; expected to be a playoff lottery contender again, they instead won four of their first five games. And then they lost six straight. Just earlier this month, they lost in a blow out to Calgary, turned around a few games later to give Calgary a taste of their own medicine, and then followed that up by losses to Colorado and Edmonton.
Detroit is currently on a four game losing streak, with three of those losses coming in overtime, a move which prompted the team to specifically practice its three-on-three work, not something that teams exactly spend a lot of energy on in practices under normal circumstances.
In a blast from the path, David Booth jumps up to the top line for the Red Wings. After two years in the KHL, the Detroit native is back with his hometown team. He scored his first two goals of the season - and his first NHL goals since 2015 - in the team’s loss against the Devils on Saturday. It remains to be seen whether the smooth-skating Booth will remain there, but the jump in minutes and positioning is a reward for a player who certainly gave it his all during the last game.
The Red Wings’ power play could give the Kings trouble; since the start of November, they’re first in the league, converting 35.5% of the time, with 11 goals for. The Kings’ penalty kill is still ranked number one in the league overall (88.9%), but the Red Wings aren’t far behind, currently sitting third in the league with a 84.5% kill. And if you look at penalty kill numbers since the start of November, the Red Wings actually have the slightly better kill (86.2% vs. the Kings’ 84.2%). Better off to hope that things simply shake out during even strength play.
The Kings will see some shake-ups to their lines, with Nick Shore being given another go at centering Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli. With Andy Andreoff out of the lineup, via Kevin Bieksa’s fists, Nic Dowd draws back in as the last forward left standing. Marian Gaborik will get a chance to pair his foot speed with Adrian Kempe’s. Trevor Lewis will serve as their human wrecking ball on the other side of that line.
Over the course of his career, Jonathan Quick has a less than stellar record against the Red Wings. He’s 8-13-1 against them. We’ll go ahead and blame some of that on the lively boards of the old Joe Lewis Arena, and also probably Pavel Datsyuk or something. No better time for a change in fortunes than right now.
Projected Line Combinations
Los Angeles Kings
Iafallo - Kopitar - Brown
Pearson - Shore - Toffoli
Gaborik - Kempe - Lewis
Jokinen - Dowd - Brodzinski
Muzzin - Doughty
Fantenberg - Martinez
Forbort - Folin
Detroit Red Wings
Nyquist - Zetterberg - Booth
Tatar - Larkin - Mantha
Helm - Nielsen - Abdelkader
Glendening - Athanasiou - Wilson
DeKeyser - Green
Ericsson - Jensen
Kronwall - Ouellet
Opposing Preview: Winging It In Motown