Preview: The start of something new
Winning, unfortunately, hasn’t been ingrained into the fabric of the Kings as much as one is accustomed to this season. So it is good to enjoy it while it lasts.
How to Watch
Game Time: 1 p.m. Pacific Time
TV: Fox Sports West
Radio: iHeart Radio
The Opposition: Knights On Ice
What to Watch
The glorious opportunity to establish their longest win streak of the season has presented itself to the Los Angeles Kings.
While that illustrates the kind of season the team is having as a whole, it does not represent their recent play on the ice that has rewarded them with a two-game win streak.
This doesn’t serve as relief on just the Kings but also for Jonathan Quick. Not only has Quick stopped 46 of the 49 shots faced in his last two outings; He has made timely saves that has allowed games to be competitive and within reach.
Los Angeles has been limiting opponents to 2.4 goals in their last five games, compared to the season average of 3.63 which is second most in the league behind the Detroit Red Wings.
And while the Kings’ 49.7 faceoff win percentage is league average, winning faceoffs during crucial moments of the game has been their cup of forte.
We’ve seen it two years ago when Tyler Toffoli scored with 0.09 seconds left and this past Thursday when they triumphed in overtime against Detroit.
Now, one might expect Nikolai Prokhorkin to produce in some way especially because he has plenty of reps at the pro level, but he is yet to register a point in four NHL games played.
Those expectations are valid but it is important to note that aside from a brief eight-game stint with the Manchester Monarchs in 2012-13, this is the first time that he is playing the sport on North American soil in seven years.
From winning the 2012 Stanley Cup immediately after being traded from a Columbus Blue Jackets team that finished last in the league to forming the beloved “That ‘70s Line,” Jeff Carter has done a lot during his time in Los Angeles.
Today’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights will mark Carter’s 1,000th NHL game and 500th in a Kings sweater.
While the smartest man in the universe, Rick Sanchez, can’t even tell who is real and who is not, you can say with almost 100% certainty that the Golden Knights are one of the most successful expansion franchises in recent sports history.
They reached the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season and have never missed the playoffs once. Though it is a possibility that Vegas could experience the 2019-20 postseason from the bleachers.
After winning six of the first ten games, the Vegas Golden Knights currently find themselves on a four-game losing streak where opponents have outscored them 15-8.
Since posting 3.27 goals per game in 2017-18, their scoring average is down to 2.85. Which is an interesting decline to document given that the team’s core players are still with the team. And they have more tools on offense at their disposal with a full season’s potential worth of Mark Stone (and Max Pacioretty).
Stone, who has been a shoe in for at least 20 goals a year, leads this year’s edition with eight tallies.
Vegas is sitting in the penalty box significantly longer than they have before with a franchise-high 10:11 per game. Fortunately for them, the penalty killing has been up to snuff with a 87.8% success rate.
But in a game that already has a steep learning curve, living life in the fast lane by means of being shorthanded isn’t highly recommended.
Los Angeles Kings
Iafallo — Kopitar — Brown
Carter — Amadio — Toffoli
Kempe — Lizotte — Wagner
Luff — Prokhorkin — Clifford
Martinez — Doughty
Hutton — Walker
Ryan — Roy
Vegas Golden Knights
Pacioretty — Karlsson — Smith
Marchessault — Eakin — Stone
Glass — Stastny — Tuch
Carrier — Roy — Reaves
McNabb — Schmidt
Hague — Theodore
Merrill — Holden