Preview: Game Day #73, Kings @ Rangers
A Cup rematch, but that'll be forgotten real quick.
Los Angeles Kings @ New York Rangers (Madison Square Garden)
Time: 4:00 PM PST
TV: NBCSN, SportsNet, MSG
Enemy Reading: Blueshirt Banter
Los Angeles Kings
Scratched: McBain, McNabb, Shore; Injured: Pearson, Stoll; Suspended: Voynov
New York Rangers
Scratched: None; Injured: Lundqvist, Klein, St. Louis
Obligatory Standings Update (as of March 24, 2015)
|Pacific Division Standings |
|4||Los Angeles||P||72 ||35||23||14||84 ||33|
|5||San Jose||P||73 ||35||30 ||8||78||32|
| Wild Card Standings |
|3||Los Angeles||P||72 ||35||23||14||84 ||33|
|6||San Jose||P||73||35||30 ||8||78||32|
(top three seeds in Pacific Division, top two seeds in Wild Card qualify for playoffs)
- Surprise! New Jersey, Edmonton, Toronto, and Colorado all were no match for the four teams competing for the final three playoff spots. San Jose basically removed themselves from contention with a loss to Andrew Hammond and the Sens, while Dallas triumphed in a must-win against Buffalo. The only game you'll really need to keep an eye on tonight other than this one is Winnipeg-Vancouver; if the Kings triumph tonight, they'll at least gain on someone.
- But enough about other teams. The Rangers are tonight's opponent, and considering they're a cool 8-1-1 in their last ten, this is going to be a bit tougher than Monday's game.
- On the bright side, Monday's game went really well, you guys! It's useful to keep an eye on ice time during the first game of a back-to-back, and with Drew Doughty under 30 minutes, eleven forwards between 11 and 20 minutes, and neither Alec Martinez nor Mike Richards pushed past their limits, I think Darryl Sutter's ice time allotment was decent.
- If the Kings are happy with what Martinez showed yesterday, we should see him jump from 16:23 (last night's TOI) closer to the 19-20 minutes which were customary for him pre-injury.
- Does Drew Doughty have a shot at the Norris? If he plays more games like he did yesterday and fewer like he did against Vancouver, perhaps. He contributed to LA's possession dominance quite a bit, and only Cory Schneider's glove proved effective against him. Doughty's quietly picked up 41 points, the most since he was a Norris finalist in 2009-10.
- Darryl Sutter is ignoring conventional wisdom and going with the hot goaltender, as Jonathan Quick starts Game 2 of the back-to-back after starting Game 1. I generally hate this move, but with Quick carrying a .932 SV% in his last ten and having a relatively easy time of it yesterday, I at least see the argument.
- Once again, Quick doesn't face Henrik Lundqvist; Cam Talbot is still manning the net in his absence.
- It's a Cup rematch, but there won't be much focus on that; not only are both teams playing hard for other reasons tonight, but the Madison Square Garden portion of the Final last year was a little less contentious than the Staples Center portion.
- PREDICTION: Kings win 3-0, spurred on by a buzzer-beating Jeff Carter goal in the first period.