Game Day Preview #64, Dallas Stars @ Los Angeles Kings
Let’s make it ten!
HOW TO WATCH
Game Time: 7:30 PM Pacific
TV: Fox Sports West
Radio: iHeart Radio
The Opposition: Defending Big D
Hello, welcome to the 2018-19 Late Season Los Angeles Kings, where Kurtis MacDermid is going to get playing time over Paul LaDue, for secret reasons.
Per fill-in Kings Insider Zach Dooley, the Kings didn’t have particularly organized line rushes, but it did appear as though MacDermid was skating on the third pairing with Sean Walker.
As they were informal rushes, it’s possible this changes, but LaDue remained out after practice for extra work, so—yeah. You may know MacDermid from his previous hits of “being incredibly large” and “having the most penalty minutes in the AHL this season” and “watching pucks as they sail right past him and into the Kings net” and “fighting, I guess”. Anything to keep Kyle Clifford from getting punched in the head again, I suppose.
Unless MacDermid has vastly improved since the last time I caught a Reign game (not that long ago), he provides a (large) body who will play some minutes and bring a physical element to the ice and skate (slowly) and do some stuff. He still has one more year on his contract (why?) so this isn’t about evaluating a pending RFA to see if he should be given a qualifying offer. This is about—ugh—grit.
Anyway, my complaints about MacDermid aside (and I am willing to allow myself to be pleasantly surprised by him, if the opportunity arises), the Kings are currently trying to avoid losing their tenth straight game. You don’t have to be good at numbers to know that ten straight wins is Bad and that winning a game right about now would be Good.
The players of course are all saying the right things about passion and accountability and respect and blah blah blah. But they have yet to be able to display that on the ice in any consistent fashion for any extent of time this season—remember, their longest winning streak is, uh, three—and it’s hard to believe that they’re going to start tonight.
While the Dallas Stars are fighting for every point to reach the post-season, they do have their fair share of exciting players. Tyler Seguin always puts on a show. Esa Lindell, John Klingberg, and Miro Heiskanen will be a young, exciting defensive corps for the Stars for years to come. Mats Zuccarello is—ah, yes. Injured. He’s injured. (Sorry, Dallas.) (Sorry, Henrik Lundqvist.) Alexander Radulov has managed to do a somewhat surprising amount of damage on the scoresheet, and also for my fantasy team. Ben Bishop is exceedingly large.
What I’m trying to say is that the Dallas Stars need these two points. They sit one point behind Colorado for the final wild card spot in the west. They desperately want to make the playoffs. They might need some help to do it, though. Since the turn of the calendar, their special teams have been mediocre (17th ranked power play at 19.7%; 21st ranked penalty kill at 79.4%). They don’t take a ton of shots (28th since January 1; yes, that’s still better than the Kings) and they’re about average in terms of how much they give up (15th in the league since January 1).
Lucky for the Stars that they come to southern California in this, the Time Of Our Great Suffering (But It Is All For Jack Hughes Maybe) (If We’re Lucky) (Oh, God, We’re So Unlucky).
Go ahead, Stars. Come get those two points. We dare you.
(Jonathan Quick starts. Matt Luff was recalled but probably won’t play. Jamie Benn is probably out for the Stars. Have fun. Be nice to each other. Thanks.)
Stars during morning skate:— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) February 28, 2019