Instead of my usual insightful pre-game analysis, here are several family-friendly words to explain my overall feelings about this team:
Ughhhhh. Why? Why! I’m an okay person. I deserve better than this. We all deserve better than this. Gustl Kopitar deserves better than this. Ughhhhhhh. Whyyyyyyy. Why?!
...okay, no. Never mind. I typed a bunch of expletives and then deleted them. That’s too much. That’s too many feelings. Feelings are for my Twitter, not the blog.
i just did a "name all 30 nhl teams" quiz thing on buzzfeed and the only one i forgot is the kings, that probably says something— sarah. (@goorgoahead) March 14, 2017
The Coyotes come to town. This is the kind of game that should be the low-hanging fruit the team is glad to see on the schedule. It should be two easy points, even as the second half of a back-to-back. The Coyotes traded away center depth in Martin Hanzal, gritty winger depth in Ryan White, and defensive depth in Michael Stone, being one of the few obvious sellers in the league at the deadline. It hasn’t changed their fortunes much, They’ve only won four of the last ten and two in a row, including a 1-0 shut-out against the Avalanche last night. And while I’m reasonably certain that my beer league team would have a decent shot at shutting out the Avs, at this point, it does mean that the Coyotes are coming in with a ton of confidence and are probably eager to be a further spoiler to the Kings’ playoff chances.
Lots of things are clicking right now for the Coyotes, including rookie Brandon Perlini, who has three goals in his last three games. Radim Vrbata leads the team in both points (49) and goals (16). And while he’s been cold lately (two points in his last five) he’s been great over the last stretch (four goals, four assists in his last ten) and historically has performed well against the Kings (17 goals and 18 assists over his career).
Also, Max Domi is trying to emulate Jake Muzzin’s beard. (Jake did it better. Sorry, kid) (Don’t send your dad after me.)
For the Kings, the squad they have continues to be the squad they have, despite persistent rumors that AHL call-ups could be a thing that happens.
Dean Lombardi on possible recalls to #LAKings: "We're still looking" ... "I could see us doing a few more here right now"— Lindsay Czarnecki (@ReignInsider) March 13, 2017
Seeing Michael Mersch and Jonny Brodzinski -- presumably the call-ups that are most likely -- in Kings uniforms would be a great preview of what’s still in the team’s pipeline. You can decide whether their potential impact would be worth shaking up a line-up that’s at least consistent, for better or worse. (The consistency, of course, is in the fact that they can’t score goals.)
Ben Bishop is most likely to get the start tonight, getting another opportunity to prove why Dean Lombardi decided to jettison Peter Budaj in favor of a true 1B/tandem goalie option. Bishop is 3-1-1 against the Coyotes in his career, though he didn’t fare too well against them in his last outing, while still with the Lightning: five goals against on 22 shots and an early hook at the end of the second period.
Hopefully Bishop stands tall (ha ha, get it, Bishop’s big) in his crease tonight and provides the Kings the bounce-back game they need after a disappointing outing against the Blues.
Whatever, here’s Tyler Toffoli’s (girlfriend’s) dog.
Projected Line Combinations
Los Angeles Kings
Iginla - Kopitar - Gaborik
Pearson - Carter - Toffoli
Lewis - Kempe - Brown
Andreoff - Dowd - Clifford
Forbort - Doughty
Muzzin - LaDue
McNabb - Martinez
Domi - Dvorak - Vrbata
Perlini - Martinook - Rieder
Crouse - Jooris - Doan
McGinn - Holland - Duclair
Ekman-Larsson - Murphy
Goligoski - Schenn
Chychrun - DeAngelo
Opposing Preview: Five For Howling