Kings/Stars: Game #78 Preview
Kings Roster Notes: (IN) Jonathan Quick (2.20 GAA, .919 SV%), Michal Handzus, Kyle Clifford. (OUT) Scott Parse (hip), Justin Williams (shoulder), Anze Kopitar (ankle).
Stars Roster Notes: (IN) Kari Lehtonen (2.58 GAA, .915 SV%). Adam Burish and Karlis Skrastins may return today. (OUT) Nicklas Grossman (knee), Brian Sutherby (back). For more info, see Mike Heika's Stars blog and Defending Big D.
Dallas comes into LA having lost six of their last seven games -- the last a tough 6-0 loss to the Sharks -- and are now close to elimination. The Kings are no less eager to keep their spot in the postseason race, so this game should be another spirited battle.
Terry Murray has once again put the lineup into a cocktail shaker and poured out something completely different -- even shuffling the D pairs to re-unite Doughty and Scuderi. Penner is now playing with Brown. Richardson gets a promotion (perhaps influenced by his play on Clifford's goal), and Lewis gets bumped down to the 4th, but it's not clear what hierarchy (if any) exists in the remaining lines. We don't have an obvious first line anymore. Who will get the top minutes? Maybe whichever line seems to earn it. This seems like a typical TM "let's hope something gels" move, one of the few options available to him since he is adamant about his system.
Murray also wanted to see more defensemen jumping up into the play, and the Vancouver game showed both the benefits and perils of that. I say let them keep trying.
The Kings lead the season series (3-1-1). A win would let them move into 4th, and bring them that much closer to the magic number of 97.