Game Day Preview #6, Los Angeles Kings @ Toronto Maple Leafs

Mission: Impossible — Don’t let Auston Matthews score


Game Time: 4:30 PM Pacific
TV: Fox Sports West
Radio: iHeart Radio
The Opposition: Pension Plan Puppets

I’m sorry, wait, Auston Matthews has how many points already?


Bounce Back … Again.

Is this going to be another good game/bad game season? The Kings followed up a disappointing performance in Winnipeg with a dominant game against the Canadiens. Can they do the same against Toronto? (Spoilers: Toronto has the best record in the NHL right now.)

On the one hand, the Kings did this against the Ottawa Senators:

On the other hand, those shots looked like this:

I’d like to say that they know what they did wrong, and that they won’t do it again, but just like my cats when they knock my lamp off the nightstand table onto my face at five in the morning and wake me up without remorse, there’s a high probability that despite having been told no, don’t, the Kings are probably just going to go ahead and keep doing the same things and hoping they work.

Lineup Shuffle … Again.

Except that for some reason, based on lines in practice, Nate Thompson has somehow found himself advanced up to the third line, replacing Jaret Anderson-Dolan, who goes down to center the fourth line.

Anderson-Dolan, who recorded his first NHL point in Montreal and was one of the more noticeable forwards in the otherwise forgettable Ottawa game, will get to show his ability to help anchor a line at center, but how he’s expected to have any impact with lesser linemates (sorry, Kyle and Trevor) remains to be seen. Maybe — far out theory here — they’re looking to keep tabs on his ice time by decreasing his even strength play but increasing the time he spends on the ailing power play? I’m going to tell myself that so I don’t get mad, at least.

And what exactly Thompson, who has a team-worst Corsi for of 35.53%, is going to provide to Amadio and Carter, other than some sort of vague physical presence, is another question entirely.

Of course, as Jewels contributor Carlos pointed out to me:

That’s certainly a strategy, but it hasn’t worked in previous iterations and seems unlikely to work tonight.

And Then There Were Three.

The list of teams not to score on the man advantage is down to three: the Kings, the Golden Knights, and the Panthers. Quite the motley crew, eh?

Drew Doughty admits that the team’s overthinking their play on the ice, and maybe something will click tonight, they’ll get back to basics, and the floodgates will open.

After all, it can’t get much worse:

The Opposition

The Maple Leafs are terrifying. Auston Matthews has, like, 100 points already. Their power play is second best in the league. Their 29 goals, and average of 4.83 goals/game are the most in the league. Their lone regulation loss came, inexplicably, to Ottawa.

Perhaps the only thing going in the Kings’ favor tonight is that Garret Sparks, who allowed six goals in a wild game against Chicago in his previous appearance this season, will get the net for Toronto tonight. But will that even matter?

I don’t even want to think about Toronto too much. I feel them watching me. It’s too much pressure. Leafs fans are going to descend and tell me how they’re going to crush the Kings.

Just — please be better, Kings. It’s game six and I’m already so tired.

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