The Los Angeles Kings are back at Staples Center after a long ten months of no hockey. The 2021 season is set to be a season like no other: new division alignments and intradivisional play, a shortened 56-game season over just four months and COVID-19 protocols that have become our new normal all contribute to this season being one of opportunity.
The Kings are taking that opportunity seriously. Though 2020 second-overall pick Quinton Byfield won’t be joining the opening night roster, knowing Byfield and a gaggle of up-and-comers are just around the corner is breathing new life into the organization. They’ve got lofty aspirations of returning to the postseason.
Notable newcomers Andreas Athanasiou and Olli Maatta will make their debuts with the Kings tonight, on the second line and top pairing, respectively.
The Minnesota Wild are hoping for an easy sweep of the California teams to open their season, starting with the Kings. Perhaps the State of Hockey’s NHL team thinks a bit highly of themselves. They’ve got plenty of shooting power, and Kirill Kaprizov is finally ready for the NHL. But goaltending is sure to plague the Wild this year, who took a chance on Cam Talbot after unloading Devan Dubnyk onto the San Jose Sharks.
Then again, Jonathan Quick isn’t exactly Jonathan Quick anymore, is he?
The season is wide open, folks.
Alex Iafallo — Anze Kopitar — Dustin Brown
Andreas Athanasiou — Blake Lizotte — Jeff Carter
Adrian Kempe — Gabriel Vilardi — Austin Wagner
Trevor Moore — Michael Amadio — Matt Luff
Olli Maatta — Drew Doughty
Mikey Anderson — Matt Roy
Kale Clague — Mark Alt
Expected Scratches: Tobias Bjornfot, Carl Grundstrom
Injured Reserve: Martin Frk (lower body), Alex Turcotte (lower body)
COVID-19 protocol: Kurtis MacDermid, Sean Walker, Calvin Petersen
Zach Parise — Nick Bjugstad — Kirill Kaprizov
Marcus Johansson — Nick Bonino — Kevin Fiala
Jordan Greenway — Joel Eriksson Ek — Marcus Foligno
Nico Sturm — Victor Rask — Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter — Matt Dumba
Jared Spurgeon — Jonas Brodin
Greg Pateryn — Carson Soucy
Expected Scratches: Gerald Mayhew, Brad Hunt
Injured Reserve: Mats Zuccarello (arm), Marco Rossi (upper body)
COVID-19 protocol: Alex Stalock
How to Watch
Puck drop is at 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Tonight’s game will be broadcast on Fox Sports West, Fox Sports North and Fox Sports Wisconsin and is available to stream through NHL.tv.
Follow along in the comments for live updates and reactions throughout the game!