Game Day Preview #76, Los Angeles Kings @ Edmonton Oilers
Hey! No controversy tonight, okay?
Preview: Los Angeles Kings (41-27-7) @ Edmonton Oilers (33-36-5)
Game Time: 7:00 PM, FS-W
Okay, so if this game goes sideways at any time, please just go watch the highlights from Anze Kopitar’s four-goal game.
Just promise me, if Edmonton starts making this game weird, if Milan Lucic looks like he wants to fight someone, if (--when, let’s face it) Connor McDavid makes Drew Doughty look stupid — just keep this in your back pocket. Your own little happy place. Okay? Okay.
Future civilizations will study this photo of a man given 4 pieces of rubber for celebratory reasons. pic.twitter.com/ZKquJPftJb— LA Kings (@LAKings) March 24, 2018
The Kings take the ice in Edmonton tonight, coming off of what certainly feels like a statement game in Denver. Anze Kopitar had a tremendous night, and eleven different Kings notched points as the team steamrolled the Avalanche, including…
🚨 JONATHAN QUICK ASSIST ALERT 🚨— Eric 💎 👑 (@EricJFTC) March 20, 2018
The Kings attacked with speed, they capitalized on mistakes, the penalty kill worked as intended — it’s all you could really hope for in a game against a team that’s one of your direct competitors for a playoff spot. Emphatic wins sure are fun, aren’t they?
The Oilers, meanwhile, are trying to find some meaning in the remains of their lost season. They’ve looked better as of late, with wins in six of their last ten, and two big consecutive wins over Ottawa and Carolina. Edmonton scored 13 goals between those two games; in their six previous games combined, they only barely got to 14 goals. So it was a bit of an offensive explosion from a team that, Connor McDavid aside, has struggled to put the puck in the net for much of the season.
Of course, their two wins come with a bit of a caveat.
Last 2 games the Oilers scored a combined 13 goals against the worst 2 teams in the NHL in SVP:— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) March 24, 2018
OTT: 30th (.898)
CAR: 31st (.890)
Over the next 3 home games EDM faces 3 of the top 7 in SVP:
LA: 3rd (.921)
ANA: 2nd (.923)
CBJ: 7th (.914
The Oilers exploded for goals, but did it against two teams who haven’t been able to stop the bleeding when it comes to goals against. The Kings, if they’re on their game tonight, will be a completely different test for the Oilers.
The teams below the Kings in the standings are starting to fade away. Dallas has won only one game in their last ten. Calgary, slowly fading down the stretch, has shut down Sean Monahan for the season, a pretty big admission of defeat. The only team outside of the playoffs right now with much of a chance to be a threat is St. Louis, still outperforming expectations despite injuries and being a bit of a seller at the deadline.
Western Conference Playoff Race (Games Ending 3/23) pic.twitter.com/XJ2o0ipQFk— Damian Echevarrieta (@Ech28) March 24, 2018
Taking the playoffs route through the Pacific is probably the ideal match-up — anything to avoid having to meet Nashville too early — so banking points is going to be crucial to avoid having to take the long road through the Central.
Tonight’s game is the fourth and final time these two teams meet. The Kings are 2-1-0 in the series, with the sole loss being that Kings win — oh wait, no they don’t debacle that got everyone talking about goaltender interference. Again.
Don’t worry, the GMs discussed, and they’re — what’s that? Doing basically nothing about it?
Good news: if you win it in regulation, instead of needing to come back in a frantic tizzy in the final minutes, you don’t have to worry about this sort of controversy. Hoping for less Situation Room calls and more good, clean, fun goals tonight.
Oh, yeah, by the way? Even some of the Oilers love Anze Kopitar:
"In my eyes, he's one of the top 5 players in the world. He does it all... I've been looking up to him for a while now." @Drat_29 on Kings superstar @AnzeKopitar pic.twitter.com/uVzh4L21bQ— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) March 24, 2018
Projected Line Combinations
Los Angeles Kings
Iafallo - Kopitar - Brown
Pearson - Carter - Rieder
Thompson - Kempe - Toffoli
Clifford - Amadio - Mitchell
Forbort - Doughty
Martinez - Phaneuf
Muzzin - Folin
Nugent-Hopkins - McDavid - Rattie
Caggiula - Draisaitl - Aberg
Lucic - Strome - Puljujarvi
Pakarinen - Khaira - Slepyshev
Nurse - Larsson
Russell - Bear
Sekera - Benning
Opposing Preview: Copper & Blue