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Preview (Oilers @ Kings): Slugging with the heavyweights

The slew of Pacific Division tilts continue for the Los Angeles Kings in the first of a four-game home stand.

NHL: Vegas Golden Knights at Los Angeles Kings Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

How to Watch

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

TV: Fox Sports West

Radio: iHeart Radio

The Opposition: The Copper & Blue

What to Watch

Despite getting their three-game win streak snapped in shutout fashion thanks to Antti Raanta and the Arizona Coyotes, the Los Angeles Kings have a chance to avenge its 6-5 season opening loss to the Edmonton Oilers when they come for a visit to Los Angeles on Thursday.

The benefit of having to face a division opponent is that it increases the chances of brewing up a rivalry and we get that with Edmonton and Los Angeles.

In their last 10 games against each other, both teams have combined to score a total of 7.3 goals per game.

If we isolate a little more and look at the last three meetings, the games have had the tendency to slow down play with an onslaught of penalties, as the Oilers picked up 50 minutes of sin bin time compares to the Kings’ 36.

It has not occurred much this season but the LA Kings are 4-0 when they have a lead after two periods according to NHL Stats. So while it is easier said than done and the goal scoring struggles are still sticking with them like a “No Ragrets“ tattoo, it is important for them to put the offensive pressure on Edmonton in the early going.

Head coach Todd McLellan has made it clear that he wouldn’t shy away from experimenting with the lineups this season; Placing Nikolai Prokhorkin on the fourth line and making Sean Walker Drew Doughty’s new partner.

That being said, it’s no secret that the goaltending individually and as a whole hasn’t been up to par. So the question has to be asked if whether or not the Kings are thinking about bringing up Cal Petersen into the rotation.

While running a three-headed monster similar to what the New York Islanders did in 2016-17 with Thomas Greiss, Jaroslav Halak and J.F. Berube is not sustainable, there isn’t too much to lose at this point. Marinating in AHL Ontario since 2016-17, Petersen has improved every single season.

On the surface, seeing that he allowed 15 goals in his last four starts might lead one to believe he isn’t worthy of a call up. However, Petersen has posted season averages of a 2.82 GAA and a .925 save percentage while facing a league-leading 585 shots (36.6 shots/game), which is 56 shots more than the next person on the list.

I’m not sure if the Oilers are blasting Drake’s “Started From The Bottom“ after every win in 2019-20, but patience displayed by the Edmonton faithful has seemed to finally paid off.

The Alberta based squad currently resides at the top of the Pacific Division, a feat that hasn’t been achieved in franchise history since 1986-87.

And they have been able to do it with a little a lot of help from Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. According to LeftWingLock, the line of McDavid, Draisaitl and Zach Kassian have a goals for percentage of 67.6 and are responsible of scoring 52 % of the Oilers’ 75 goals.

Besides the dynamic duo, the remaining members of Edmonton have 17 points or less. If their blistering pace continues from here on out, they will become the first pair of teammates to lead the NHL in scoring since Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis in 2012-13.

Collectively, the effort on the defensive end has contributed mighty to Edmonton’s success on the ice this season. Allowing 2.7 goals on 30.9 shots per game while complementing the No. 1 power play (32.4%) with a penalty killing efficiency of 88%.

Lineups

Los Angeles Kings

Iafallo — Kopitar — Brown
Carter — Amadio — Toffoli
Kempe — Lizotte — Wagner
Luff — Prokhorkin — Clifford

Walker — Doughty
Hutton — Martinez
Roy — MacDermid

Quick

Edmonton Oilers

Draisaitl — McDavid — Kassian
Khaira — Nugent-Hopkins — Neal
Granlund — Haas — Chiasson
Nygard — Sheahan — Archibald

Nurse — Bear
Klefbom — Jones
Russell — Benning

Koskinen