Mulligan: Kings 2011-12 Season Preview

Well, it's been a weird, long off-season. The Kings staggered through their 33 game exhibition schedule, finishing up with a mediocre record of 15-14-4. Drew Doughty is signed and looks to be in game shape just in time for the season to begin. New-comers Mike Richards and Simon Gagne found some pre-season chemistry with Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams and Dustin Brown, all of whom wisely paced themselves through the grueling pre-season and appear ready to hit the ground running once the season begins tonight. Richards, Doughty, Dustin Penner and Willie Mitchell all nursed pre-season injuries and hopefully have gotten the injury bug out of the way now that the games count.

In just a few hours, the Kings are poised to begin a truncated 49 game regular season. They need a record of 30-15-4 to qualify for the playoffs for the third consecutive year. With the added pressure of high expectations, coach Terry Murray took the unorthodox step of donning a Darryl Sutter mask, which he will wear throughout the season.