Preview: Vegas comes to town as the Kings shuffle their lines
Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, and some other veterans make their preseason debuts tonight.
How to Watch
Game Time: 7:30 PM Pacific
TV: NHL Network
Radio: iHeart Radio
The Opposition: Knights on Ice
What to Watch
- The Golden Knights have two wins under their belts, blanking Colorado 5-0 on Tuesday and defeating the Coyotes 6-2 on Sunday. They’re playing half of their NHL lineup, and then the other half is, essentially, going to wind up being the top six of the Chicago Wolves. Oscar Dansk, who backstopped the Wolves to the Calder Cup Final, will get the start in net.
- The Kings are slowly starting to work in more of their NHL roster, with Alex Iafallo, Anze Kopitar, and Dustin Brown all scheduled to draw in, as well as Drew Doughty. The defense is still a work in progress, particularly as they work to integrate new acquisition Ben Hutton, but the forward lines are looking fairly consistent, with the big change so far being Nikolai Prokhorkin drawing centering duties for Trevor Lewis and Kyle Clifford, a spot Jeff Carter has previously been occupying. (Carter skated to the right of Adrian Kempe this morning, but that line, with Jaret Anderson-Dolan on the left wing, was apparently last off the ice and is not anticipated to play tonight.)
- Look for the bubble players up front — Mario Kempe, Blake Lizotte, and, to some extent, Prokhorkin — to try to make a big impression to make the team out of camp. Lizotte in particular has garnered praise from the coaches for his play and looks intent on making their decision very difficult.
- These two teams don’t like each other very much at all, and much like the Kings/Ducks rivalry, there’s no reason not to expect that to carry over to tonight, especially with so many NHLers on both rosters.
- If the Kings want to come out of this game looking better than they did in their home debut, they’re going to need to shut down that top line, which has the speed and the hands to do some damage. Cody Glass as a winger is an interesting move, as he’s already a very strong center at a young age, and more than held his own at the AHL level when he joined at the end of the regular season and throughout the Wolves’ playoff run.
- Part of Todd McLellan’s message after the Kings’ home loss to the Arizona squad was that some of their issues were caused by players reacting to mistakes by essentially abandoning the game plan. Per media reports, McLellan said: “I believe the willingness to do the things that we set out to do existed for about 10 seconds. Then we got scored on, and as soon as that happens, the trust factor diminishes a little bit more. Now you’ve got people doing half their job and all of a sudden you break down anymore.” That’s something that was evident last year, as well. Part of it may be the struggle for the older players to leave behind systems and game plans they’d spent years perfecting under Darryl Sutter. But it’s been long enough, now, and they need to learn new things. Keep a close eye on how the players — young and old — react to mistakes tonight. /
Los Angeles Kings
Iafallo - Kopitar - Brown
Grundstrom - Amadio - Wagner
M. Kempe - Lizotte - Toffoli
Clifford - Prokhorkin - Lewis
Ryan - Doughty
Martinez - Roy
MacDermid - Clague
Vegas Golden Knights
Marchessault - Karlsson - Stone
Glass - Eakin - Tuch
Brown - Duke - McKenzie
Elevenes - Cotter - Leschyshyn
Some combination of Engelland, Schmidt, Schuldt, Hague, Bischoff, Megna