Watch: 7:30 PM Pacific, Fox Sports West
I put off writing this for a long time today. Partially because I was asleep with the plague, having weird fever dreams about Martin Jones and a zombie apocalypse (I am 100% not lying about this, by the way). But partially because -- like, man. How do you preview a game you’re having a hard time getting excited about?
There was a glimmer of excitement when it was revealed that Jonny Brodzinski was called up, but it looks like he’ll be sitting out tonight to have a little more time to get acclimated to the team, and get a few more practices under his belt, first.
So there goes that excitement. Maybe next time.
A game against the Jets in general? Sigh. They’re engaged in their own “just close enough to fake it like the games still matter” battle, sitting just two points behind the Kings, with a similarly dismal record recently (5-4-1 for the Jets, 4-4-2 for the Kings).
For the Jets, they’ve got a few things going for them at the moment. First, a three-game winning streak, pulling out wins over the surging Islanders (remember when they were dead last in the East?), the Wild (clawing their way back to fight for first in the Central after a late-season losing streak), and the Flyers (the folks over at Arctic Ice Hockey basically call the Kings “Philadelphia West”, and I can’t argue with it that much). That’s wins over two teams that still have something to fight for and one to a team that’s probably just in denial about how their season’s going to end. (Sound familiar?)
They’ve also got Patrik Laine. The rookie leads his team in both goals (33) and in looking like some sort of alternate universe version of Draco Malfoy. All season long, Laine’s shown why he was worth all of the hype leading up to his draft. When watching games that have had zero impact on me, personally, or my rooting interests, he’s been a treat to watch. He’s only -- “only” -- scored three goals in his last ten, though, which means he’s probably due for a four-goal outburst tonight. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.
Ben Bishop looks for yet another chance to get his first win as a King. I can’t say that I particularly blame any of his losses on him, but it still stings, knowing that he was brought in to be a more high-ceiling back-up to Jonathan Quick, and still being winless. Still - unless Bishop’s going to start scoring goals from the crease, he’s not really the primary culprit in the Kings’ losses.
Andy Andreoff and Kevin Gravel are out tonight, replaced by Jordan Nolan and Brayden McNabb. Nick Shore is skating and, therefore, allegedly alive, so that’s a thing. Adrian Kempe’s been surprisingly serviceable as a third line center, so at this point, it may not make much sense to rush him back.
Speaking of goals, know who hasn’t scored in a while? Alec Martinez (March 4) or Jake Muzzin (February 27) or Drew Doughty (January 21) or Derek Forbort (December 15). What I’m saying is a goal from the defense would be nice. Like, it’d make me real happy.
Then again, after getting blanked by Edmonton, any goals would be a nice start. Let’s work on those, boys.
Projected Line Combinations
Los Angeles Kings
Brown - Kopitar - Iginla
Pearson - Carter - Toffoli
Gaborik - Kempe - Lewis
Clifford - Dowd - Nolan
Forbort - Doughty
Muzzin - LaDue
McNabb - Martinez
Perreault - Scheifele - Wheeler
Ehlers - Little - Laine
Copp - Lowry - Armia
Tanev - Petan - Thorburn
Melchiori - Byfuglien
Strait - Morrissey
Stuart - Nogier
Opposing Preview: Arctic Ice Hockey