Game Day #19: Kings-Panthers

Los Angeles Kings v Florida Panthers (Staples Center)

Time: 7.30 PM

TV: Fox Sports West

Kings projected lineup:

Gaborik - Kopitar - Lewis
King - Carter - Toffoli
Pearson - Stoll - Williams
Clifford - Richards - Brown

Doughty - Muzzin
McNabb - Greene
Regehr - McBain


Injured: Martinez; Suspended: Voynov

Panthers projected lineup:

Kopecky - Huberdeau - Upshall
Bjugstad - Trocheck - Boyes
Jokinen - Grimaldi - Hayes
Fleischmann - MacKenzie - Thornton

Mitchell - Ekblad
Campbell - Robak
Olsen - Gudbranson


Injured: Pirri (concussion), Bolland (groin), Kulikov (knee), Barkov (illness), Bergenheim (lower body)

Game notes:

  • I know these last few previews have been short, but so is my patience with Darryl Sutter. Trevor Lewis on the top line is an experiment that has happened before, and I understand an impulse to reward him for his recent competence as well as a desire to spread out the offensive threats, but saddling Tanner Pearson and Justin Williams with Jarret Stoll is bad and I feel bad for them.
  • Alec Martinez is apparently made of (sing it with me) TITAAAAANIIIUUM, because his post-surgery recovery is only expected to take approximately a week. If he will be better when he gets back, that will be great. In the interim, the defensive pairings will stay the same as they were against Anaheim, which is also fine, but also kind of depressing because every defender not on the top pairing has played in such underwhelming fashion. Sigh.
  • The nicest news of the day is, of course, Panthers captain Willie Mitchell returning to Staples Center, where he was integral in winning two Stanley Cups and apparently gave everyone really tedious lectures about organic salmon farming all the time. Willie Mitchell is a goddamn delight - I haven't watched the Panthers much so I'm not sure how well he's doing for them, but the basic numbers indicate that their defence has improved significantly since last season and it looks like he's logging steady minutes on the top pairing.
  • The Panthers thumped the Ducks last night, 6-2. Although they're probably not as good as that score looks, they've kept pace with the Kings so far this season in terms of the underlying puck possession numbers. And, while I think the Kings are still playing significantly below talent level, I also think that this Panthers team is legitimately decent and will likely give them a pretty real challenge.
  • They'll be missing one of their good young forwards, Alexander Barkov, who fell ill on this roadtrip and will be replaced in the lineup by Rocco Grimaldi (whom you may remember as that guy who thought that being really Christian caused his draft stock to drop). It's also possible that Sean Bergenheim, who is apparently mostly recovered from a lower body injury, will play tonight. It is, unfortunately for the Kings, impossible for the truly execrable David Bolland to play tonight.
  • Predictions: Kings win 3-1, with a Willie Mitchell goal. I just love him.