Game Day #18: Kings @ Sabres Preview
welcome to the least coast
Los Angeles Kings v Buffalo Sabres (First Niagara Center)
Time: 4.00 PM
TV: Fox Sports West
Enemy reading: Die By the Blade
Sabres (projected) lineup:
Injured: Mike Weber; Scratched: Nikita Zadarov, John Scott, Johan Larsson
Kings (projected) lineup:
- The big news out of Buffalo is that Steve Ott has, unfortunately, not ceased to exist since last week's Sabres-Kings game. The Sabres didn't take line rushes at warm-ups this morning, but yesterday, Ott skated on the first line with Matt Moulson and Cody Hodgson, making it officially the least physically and spiritually attractive top line in the league. Also, it's not very good at hockey.
- Christian Ehrhoff, who didn't play against the Ducks due to a lower body muscle strain suffered in the game against the Kings last week, is in for tonight. Much-beleagured Ville Leino, who was a scratch for mysterious reasons in the Sabres' last game against Anaheim (a 6-2 drubbing featuring Ryan Getzlaf's first career hat trick), is also back in the lineup tonight. Do you think he'd rather be a Flyer again? Worst Sophie's choice ever.
- The Sabres are wearing these in warmups tonight, and auctioning them off for their charitable foundation. That is a very nice thing to do, but my word, those camo jerseys are ugly in every iteration.
- For the Kings, the bodies are starting to pile up. Figuratively, I mean. I don't think Carter and Stoll hang out in bunk beds or anything. Anyway, that's four lineup regulars sidelined, and barely any news on their progress or even what's wrong with them, from the Kings. Good. Reassuring. Yes.
- Sometimes I forget Matt Frattin is on this team. I'm pretty sure I heard more about him when he was on the Leafs than I do now. (Although maybe that's a sign that I know too many Leafs fans.) He's been so underwhelming as a King, and I'm sure some of that is due to his being scratched/played on the fourth line, but it seems as if Coach Sutter has written him off without giving him a sustained chance to succeed. I await his trade to New Jersey for a fifth-round pick.
- This game starts a four-game tour against the New York region, also known "three really bad teams and sort of the Rangers". If the Kings come up with anything less than 6 points out of 8 here, I'll be very disappointed. Beyond all the "West rules, East drools" narrative, these are genuinely weaker teams that the Kings should be handling if they want to keep pace with the rest of the Pacific.
- Prediction: Kings win 4-1, the power play and the penalty kill are actually both functionally competent during a single game for the first time in forever.
More from Jewels From The Crown:
- This Week in Kings (11/11/13)
- On Mitchell's recovery and pressure from Sutter to rush back
- Canucks @ Kings: Grades and Analysis
- Kings-Canucks Recap: LA Crushes Vancouver 5-1 Behind Toffoli, Vey, and the Rest
- Player Power Rankings II: The Usual Suspects Top the Rankings/