Game Time: 7:30 PM Pacific, Fox Sports West
I missed out on a prime opportunity to be like “Reporting live from the Toyota Sports Center” this morning, but rest assured, I thought about it.
I made eye contact accidentally with Jon Rosen and then hustled off to be that one person in the stands at TSC wearing flip flops instead of a full winter outfit. What can I say, the cold doesn’t bother me anyway.
Practice lines rotated through quite a few combinations - at one point I saw Jeff Carter flanked by Kyle Clifford and Dustin Brown and wondered if I could get away with crying in public. Things shuffled themselves around by the end of practice and we wound up with some standard combinations (Pearson/Kopitar/Iginla and Lewis/Shore/Brown) and some WTF combinations (fourth line Tyler Toffoli).
Based on lines and late stayers at practice, Adrian Kempe and Paul LaDue are out tonight. With Ontario set to clinch a playoff spot, as early as tomorrow, it’s expected that they’ll be returned to the Reign for their playoff run. They could be getting rested tonight just to rotate in some different players (Andreoff, Gravel) or it could be related to keeping them fresh for the Reign’s home stretch of games.
At least someone on this team will have the chance to win a championship, even if they’ve got to go to Ontario to do it.
The Flames are starting rookie goalie Jon Gillies in net tonight, and we always know how that goes for the Kings. Congratulations in advance on your 45-save shutout, Gillies.
As is probably going to become standard with Flames games, you have to wonder if these two teams got all their bad blood out last time, or if tonight’s going to turn into a brawl. The Flames and Ducks certainly got fighty the other night, so tonight being more of the same wouldn’t be a surprise.
Will Matt Tkachuk have any chill? Is Jarome Iginila going to have to fight for his team’s honor, again? Will Ben Bishop (he’s very large) somehow instigate a fight?
We’ll find out.
I’m watching this one from Staples Center. If you’re at the game, drop me a line, come say hi to your blog’s Midwestern Correspondent. I’m hoping it’s an entertaining game.
You decide what entertaining means.
Projected Line Combinations
Los Angeles Kings
Pearson - Kopitar - Iginla
Clifford - Carter - Brodzinski
Lewis - Shore - Brown
Andreoff - Dowd - Toffoli
Forbort - Doughty
Muzzin - Martinez
McNabb - Gravel
Tkachuk - Backlund - Frolik
Ferland - Monahan - Gaudreau
F. Hamilton - Lazar - Brouwer
Versteeg - Bennett - Chaisson
Giordano - D. Hamilton
Brodie - Wideman
Bartkowski - Engelland
Opposing Preview: Matchsticks & Gasoline