Preview: Carolina Hurricanes (11-10-6) @ Los Angeles Kings (19-8-3)
Game Time: 7:30 PM, FS-W
The Carolina Hurricanes keep winding up as statistical darlings, with a crop of excellent prospects and young players who have excellent analytics. And yet every year, despite being on the cusp of breaking out, they wind up in the basement of the Eastern Conference. They sit at the bottom of the very competitive Metropolitan Division with 28 points (if they were in the Atlantic, they’d be fifth, with a much better chance for climbing the ladder -- thanks, playoff system) and unless they have a quick change in fortunes, may find themselves in the running for a lottery spot instead.
Compounding their problems is the fact that they’re having a hard time holding a lead. They blew a 3-0 lead over the Sharks on Thursday, were shut out by the Canucks on Tuesday, gave up two separate leads to the Panthers before winning in overtime on Saturday, and got completely outmatched by Henrik Lundqvist the day before. And that’s just in the past week. They’re four for the last ten, their usually top ranked special teams are struggling (the power play and penalty kill are both 29th in the league), and off-season acquisitions that were supposed to help the team are failing to make much of an impact.
Except for Justin Williams, who is perfect in every way.
(Wiliams is third on the team in points with 19 on the season, and first in my heart.)
The Kings keep opening up a wider league on the rest of their division, sit in a three-way tie for second in the league, and are looking to make it eight wins in a row.
The lineup’s the same. Everything’s rolling like a very well-oiled machine, to the point where there’s not even much to discuss. The penalty kill is beautiful. The team is beautiful. Everything is wonderful. The scratches are mostly the same -- save for Nic Dowd being a Canuck and Andy Andreoff getting the healthy scratch treatment -- and Jonathan Quick starts.
The Hurricanes are looking to get back on the right track, and the Kings want to keep rolling over their competition.
Here are some videos of Justin Williams. May he score zero goals tonight, but know that we love him anyway.
Projected Line Combinations
Los Angeles Kings
Iafallo - Kopitar - Brown
Pearson - Shore - Toffoli
Gaborik - Kempe - Lewis
Jokinen - Mitchell - Brodzinski
Muzzin - Doughty
MacDermid - Martinez
Forbort - Folin
Skinner - Staal - Williams
Aho - Ryan - Teravainen
McGinn - Rask - Lindholm
Nordstrom - Kruger - Di Guiseppe
Slavin - Pesce
Dahlbeck - Fauk
Hanifin - van Riemsdyk
Opposing Preview: Canes Country