Preview: Game Day #1, Kings vs. Sharks

Here goes nothing.

Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks (Staples Center)

Time: 7:30 Pacific


Enemy Reading: Fear the Fin

Kings Lines

Milan Lucic - Anze Kopitar - Marian Gaborik
Tanner Pearson - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli
Dustin Brown - Nick Shore - Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford - Andy Andreoff - Jordan Nolan

Jake Muzzin - Drew Doughty
Jeff Schultz - Christian Ehrhoff
Brayden McNabb - Alec Martinez

Jonathan Quick
(Jhonas Enroth)

Scratched: Jordan Weal, Derek Forbort. Injured: Matt Greene, Dwight King.

Sharks Lines

Joonas Donskoi - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Joel Ward
Matt Nieto - Tomas Hertl - Tommy Wingels
Barclay Goodrow - Chris Tierney - Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Paul Martin - Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon - Matt Tennyson

Martin Jones
(Alex Stalock)

Scratched: Dylan DeMelo, Ben Smith. Suspended: Raffi Torres.

Game Notes

  • This is it! A new and exciting Kings season is underway. We here at Jewels from the Crown are optimistic as ever. All seven of us predicted that the Kings will reclaim a playoff spot. It's not hard to see why when you look at this roster. Doughty and Muzzin make up as good a first pair as there is in the NHL, the top six is fantastic, and even the depth is probably a little better than last year. Of course, as last year showed, it's never guaranteed in the NHL. But this team looks good.
  • The Sharks quietly had a very solid offseason. They avoided the unnecessary infighting that plagued them last season (they have a captain now!) and, more to the point, made some very nice free agency pickups in Paul Martin and Joel Ward. Their depth looks much better at both forward and defense.
  • San Jose's most curious roster decision is surely having Joonas Donskoi, a 23-year-old former fourth-round pick of the Florida Panthers, make his NHL debut on the top line. Donskoi scored 71 points in 77 games in Finland's top league last year. The current league equivalencies suggest that league is slightly easier to score in than the OHL, so his point total might not be as impressive as it first looks. The upside of this move is that Tomas Hertl can now center the third line, which gives San Jose three threatening lines.
  • The Sharks also have a new head coach, Peter DeBoer. DeBoer's Devils teams typically posted good possession numbers, but also played the most low-event hockey in the NHL. Hopefully, the greater offensive talent available to DeBoer in San Jose encourages him to open things up a bit.
  • Martin Jones makes his much-hyped return to LA. Jones has generally posted above-average results at the AHL and NHL levels over the course of his career, but then the same could have been said about Ben Scrivens going into last year. I think Jones is probably more likely than not to turn into a decent NHL starter, but you just never know with young goalies. Darryl Sutter wishes him the best.
  • LA's fourth line looks awful. It would have been great to see Jordan Weal given a shot with Dwight King hurt, but no dice. The good news is San Jose obligingly started Mike Brown on their fourth line (over the underrated Ben Smith), thus squandering any advantage they might have had there.
  • Jeff Schultz steps in for the injured Matt Greene. It'll be interesting to see whether Schultz-Ehrhoff or McNabb-Martinez loses Sutter's trust faster.
  • The Kings promised to drop Drew Doughty's ice time to 25 minutes per game. With Muzzin banged up and Greene out, I'm a bit skeptical they'll hold to that, but we'll see.
  • Enjoy the hockey! It should be a fun season in Los Angeles - or at the very least, more fun than last year.