clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Preview: Free falling Kings host the Vancouver Canucks

Expecting this year to be a ring capturing season is asking too much from this team. But how about being competitive?

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

How to Watch

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

TV: Fox Sports West

Radio: iHeart Radio

The Opposition: Nucks Misconduct

What to Watch

After losing the struggle fest to the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1 on Sunday, the Los Angeles Kings had a two-day break before today’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.

The 8-2 goal party that the Kings were on the receiving end of 21 days ago when these two teams conducted their first rendezvous of the season is something that they hope will not happen again.

However, Los Angeles is currently navigating the murky waters that is the current three-game losing streak; surrendering 15 goals during that stretch while only scraping together four goals of their own.

It’s not the greatest look in the world on the offense when the team’s last two goal scorers were defenseman.

While sitting in last place in the Western Conference alone is enough to make the fanbase already dread having to endure the the countless losses, the team has hit some historic lows.

Per NHL Stats, the 8.9 % conversion rate on the power play in the 2019-20 season marks are the lowest in franchise history. In the last five games, the Kings have scored two goals on 21 opportunities with the man advantage.

Meanwhile the 4.08 goals allowed per game average is the ninth highest as this year’s rendition is the only team from the 2000’s that is ranked top 10 all time in this category.

Putting a high volume of shots on net has not translated to wins in the standings either, losing six games out of the 11 games this season where they outshot their opponents.

The team announced on Tuesday that they have recalled Carl Grundstrom after he posted five goals and seven points in five games for the AHL’s Ontario Reign to perhaps kick start the sputtering offense.

There is nothing much to lose by doing this as any rep at the NHL level would only increase the confidence level of the 21-year-old Swede.

Head coach Todd McLellan realizes this as a low risk, high reward situation. For those clamoring that he should be fired just 12 games into his tenure, please relax.

The post Sedin twins era has been a relatively welcome change for the Vancouver Canucks after Henrik and Daniel served as the backbone of the franchise for 18 years since their NHL debut in 2000.

Despite falling nine points short of a playoff berth in 2018-19 in their first season without them, the Swedish connection that led the squad to a 2011 Stanley Cup Final berth has been reconnected and revamped with the electric Elias Pettersson.

Pettersson, last season’s Calder Trophy winner, has essentially picked up where he left off as he currently leads the team in points with 14. Five of them are assists he picked up as the quarterback of the power play.

While him alone make the Canucks exciting to watch, it is the fellow youth’s player progression being seen in Bo Horvat, J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser that could catapult the Canucks to the playoffs for the first time in five years.

They currently occupy the top wild card spot in the West with a 7-3-1 record (15 points).

Prior to the start of the 2019-20 season, Boeser signed a 3-year contract worth $17.625 million to remain in Vancouver. Given his age (22) and the two 20-goal campaigns he has been able to produce so far, there is no doubt there is more than a sliver of optimism for the Canucks’ success in the near future.

Lineups

Los Angeles Kings

If the Kings stick to the lines they’ve been using, it may look something like this:

Iafallo-Kopitar-Brown
Carter-Lizotte-Toffoli
Kovalchuk-Kempe-Lewis
Clifford-Amadio-Wagner

Hutton-Doughty
Martinez-Walker
MacDermid-Roy

Campbell

But if Todd McLellan goes as nuclear as he did in practice, we may see something like this:

Toffoli and Lewis appeared to be the odd men out on Tuesday. With no morning skate on game day, we’ll have to wait until puck drop to find out.

Vancouver Canucks

Pearson-Horvat-Virtanen
Miller-Pettersson-Boeser
Ferland-Sutter-Leivo
Schaller-Beagle-Eriksson

Edler-Myers
Hughes-Tanev
Benn-Stecher

Markstrom