Game Day #5: Kings @ Hurricanes Preview

The Kings kick off a 3-game trek through the Ghost of the Southeast Division in Raleigh.

Los Angeles Kings @ Carolina Hurricanes (PNC Arena)

Time: 4:00 pm

TV: Fox Sports West

Enemy Reading: Canes Country

Hurricanes Lineup, via CC's game preview:

Tlusty - E. Staal - Semin
Gerbe - J. Staal - Dwyer
Skinner - Lindholm - Dvorak
Sutter - Nash - Bowman

Sekera - Faulk
Harrison - Murphy
Bellemore - Hainsey

Ward (starter)

Injured: Tuomo Ruutu (lower body), Tim Gleason (concussion), Joni Pitkanen (broken left heel bone)

Kings lineup (unchanged from win over Sens via Jon Rosen tweet):

Brown - Kopitar - Williams
Carcillo -Richards - Carter
Clifford - Lewis - Frattin
King - Stoll - Nolan

Regehr - Doughty
Mitchell - Voynov
Martinez - Greene

Quick (starter)

Injured: still nobody! won't someone think of the poor, bored Kings' trainers and medical staff??? Scratched: Fraser, Muzzin, Ellerby

Game Notes:

  • I guess we don't suck after all! Hurray!
  • This is the start of a 4-game road trip for the Kings. They'll finish up their Southeast nostalgia tour in Florida against the Panthers (Sunday) & Lightning (Tuesday) before heading to Nashville for their always-exciting matchup with the Predators next Thursday.
  • As I think everyone probably assumed, the Kings will indeed dress the exact same lineup that beat the Ottawa Senators 4-3 in overtime on Wednesday night. That's not necessarily a bad thing- even the much-maligned Dan Carcillo did fine with his limited minutes on the second line (11:50, +5 in 5v5 Corsi). Whether he can out-attempt the competition on anything resembling a consistent basis is another story entirely, of course, but game one of that experiment worked out okay. The new-look third line didn't fare so well, however, with all three members finishing underwater in shot attempts (despite a relatively even deployment among all three zones). They were the only real weak links in a game that was, possession-wise, one of the Kings' strongest of the season (49-37 in 5v5 Corsi, 37-27 in 5v5 Fenwick in a game the Kings lead most of the way). Yes, obviously blowing that 3-goal lead sucks and stuff, but some of Ottawa's goals were so fluky that it almost doesn't even bare worrying about. So keeping the same lineup together, Carbomb and all, probably makes sense here.
  • Of course, keeping the same lineup together also means Alec Martinez stays #freed. He stepped right into the lineup on Wednesday and immediately was a possession beast, finishing +8 in Corsi at even strength. He did benefit from soft zonestarts (6 in the offensive zone compared to just 2 in the d-zone), but it was still an impressive performance given how long he had been out of game action.
  • As for our opponents this evening, the Hurricanes are off to a decent start in their absurdly-named new division, sitting at 2-1-1 so far. They're coming off a win over the only other Southeast team who migrated Metro with them, holding on to beat the Capitals 3-2 in Washington last night. Playing back-to-back games is always tough, so the Kings should hopefully look to stay in the game long enough for them to tire out and begin breaking down (much as the Kings did themselves against the Jets last week). The Kings will almost certainly be up against the up-and-down Cam Ward, as Anton Khudobin turned in a 30-save performance last night.
  • Carolina wasn't particularly good last night from a puck possession standpoint, finishing behind the Capitals in virtually every metric (40-38 in 5v5 Corsi, 33-32 in 5v5 Fenwick, 31-24 in Corsi close, 26-20 in Fenwick close). This has been pretty typical for them so far in the young season, as they are a slightly sub-50% team in both 5v5 Corsi & Fenwick percentage (49.9 and 49.8%, respectively). Their 5v5 PDO is a very average 100.8. They're a very middle-of-the-road team right now, almost defining the word "average" so far in this young season. Meanwhile, the Kings are sitting 27th in the league with a 5v5 93.6 PDO, thanks mostly to a laughably bad 3.6 shooting percentage (although a .900 sv% at evens certainly doesn't help either). Hopefully this is something that will even itself out as the season goes on and not a rerun of the 2011-12 regular season.
  • Prediction: Kings win, 4-2.
  • (UPDATE: flipped Lindholm & Nash via a report from a local Raleigh radio station, where apparently they *do* talk about the Hurricanes if you were wondering.)