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Preview: Kings look to foil Sabres tonight at Staples

Kings need to stay out of the penalty box if they want to beat surprising Buffalo squad.

Los Angeles Kings v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Sara Schmidle/NHLI via Getty Images

How To Watch

Game Time: 7:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time

TV: Fox Sports West

Radio: iHeart Radio

The Opposition: Die By the Blade

What to Watch

  • Tonight’s contest will mark the fourth game of a five-game home stand for the Los Angeles Kings. After tonight the Kings face the Calgary Flames Saturday night before embarking on a four-game road trip before returning to Staples October 30th to face Vancouver. Tonight further marks the first Student Night of the season. Students with ID can purchase discounted tickets online and receive a NEW ERA Kings hat upon entry.
  • Road back-to-backs are never easy, even if that road is just a 35-mile stretch of the Golden State Freeway. Last night the Sabres suffered their first regulation loss of the season, falling 5-2 against the Ducks in Anaheim. After tonight’s contest the Sabres will continue their California swing, playing the Sharks Saturday in San Jose.
  • Going into last night’s game the Sabres power-play was rolling along as number one in the NHL. But the team went just 1-for-8 on Wednesday, falling to second behind Edmonton. In 11:23 of ice time on the man advantage, the Sabres managed only seven shots. In contrast, the Kings PK unit ranks 27th out of 31 teams in the league, successfully killing penalties only 65% of the time. Needless to say, the Kings need to stay out of the box in order to compete.
  • Todd McLellan has alternated goalies in each of the season’s first six games. However, while there hasn’t been an official announcement from the team, Jack Campbell was the first goalie off the ice and therefore is expected to start. Campbell played in Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to Carolina, allowing only one goal before being pulled for an extra skater. Quick is off to a poor start, posting an 0-3-0 record, a 6.44 GAA and a .793 save percentage. While those stats are admittedly distorted by the 8-2 debacle last week versus Vancouver, the fact remains that Quick needs to step up soon or else his title of Kings “goalie for life” needs to be reevaluated. Not saying I’m Nostradamus but the possibility of a Quick slow start and its effect on the Kings future was addressed in my pre-season goaltending preview.
  • It will be interesting to see if Tobias Bjornfot sees the ice tonight, or even if he dresses. The 18 year old Swede has been a healthy scratch the last three games. The team still has time to decide where he would best be suited to play, having only played in three games, but eventually management will have to make a decision on him, as once he’s played in nine games, he’ll get credit for a full years service on his entry-level contract. LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen reports that when asked about Bjornfot’s immediate future Todd McLellan commented that “being around the group, picking things up in practice, being in meetings, experiencing buildings and warm-ups and pre-game meetings and all that type of stuff in the NHL is valuable, and that’s part of the growth process. He obviously needs to play and he needs to get reps in, but that’ll happen.” Don’t know about you but in my book when the coach is specifically asked about your playing time and he responds by pointing out that you are learning so much just by participating in warm-ups at NHL arenas is not exactly a vote of confidence or what you want to hear.

Lineups

Los Angeles Kings

Buffalo Sabres

Nothing formally announced yet, but it will likely look something similar to this:

Expect goaltender Carter Hutton to get the start in net.