A win against Colorado was nice. Refreshing! Morale-boosting! A real change of pace.
Of course, it was a 2-1 win where a the Kings could only get two pucks in the net against a not-so-great team. It wasn’t the commanding performance that fans perhaps hoped for, but a win is a win, right?
Subsequently, not much is going to change for the Kings tonight. The lines are the same, Paul LaDue is still injured, Jeff Zatkoff still will be smiling on the bench despite clearing waivers.
I feel like I could start a Tumblr just of Jeff Zatkoff smiling on the bench pic.twitter.com/DVZY2RPSwf— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) February 19, 2017
Tyler Toffoli finally got back on the scoreboard against the Avs, with a real wrecking ball of a play that sent both him and the puck into the net, and gained Adrian Kempe his first NHL point. Toffoli’s results since returning from injury have been concerning, so hopefully the goal will help boost his confidence and get him back to being the goal-scorer we all know he is. His goal was his tenth of the season, finally giving a third King double-digit goals, along with Tanner Pearson and Jeff Carter.
Peter Budaj bounced back from a few weak performances, earning the win against his old team. It’s doubtful that the looming spectre of Jonathan Quick’s return is having much of an impact on Budaj, but his time between the pipes is winding to an end. Boston will be a harder test than the Avalanche, but there are a few things working in the Kings favor.
The Bruins are on the second half of a back to back, having lost last night in Anaheim. With Tuukka Rask having played against the Ducks, the Kings will likely draw backup goalie Anton Khudobin, whose stats are pretty comparable to Jeff Zatkoff’s, if you’re wondering what to expect. That could be good news for the Kings to put a few more pucks behind a goalie. Any goalie. It doesn’t matter at this point.
For the Bruins, Patrice Bergeron is having a down year, much like another world-class first-line center we all know and love. In his place, however, Brad Marchand leads the team in points and is just one away from the second 60-point season of his career. With 22 games left in the season, he’s well on his way to a career high in points, showing that the winger’s a pain to play against for more than just his pesty nature.
New interim coach Bruce Cassidy was quick to mix his lines up in Anaheim, so there’s no telling how long any of the Bruins’ projected lines will last. The Bruins have been on a nice run lately as they try to regain a playoff spot, winning seven of their last ten. They’re just outside the picture, but a win tonight could put them back in a playoff position, depending on what happens in the Islanders game. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.
Projected Line Combinations
Los Angeles Kings
King - Kopitar - Toffoli
Pearson - Carter - Brown
Gaborik - Shore - Lewis
Kempe - Dowd - Clifford
Forbort - Doughty
Muzzin - Gravel
McNabb - Martinez
Marchand - Bergeron - Backes
Cehlarik - Krejci - Pastrnak
Hayes - Spooner - Vatrano
Beleskey - Moore - Nash
Chara - Carlo
Krug - McQuaid
C. Miller - K. Miller
Opposing Preview: Stanley Cup of Chowder