In advance of Game 4 later tonight vs. the visiting Colorado Avalanche, coach Todd McLellan and his LA Kings had one final skate earlier this morning… And it was optional.
All players participated except:
With that in mind, here’s our projection…
LA Kings expected lineup for Game 4 vs. Colorado
Kempe – Kopitar – Iafallo
Athanasiou – Lizotte – Carter
Andersson – Vilardi – Brown
Amadio – Wagner *
Andersson is currently on the taxi squad and will need to be recalled. If that doesn’t happen, we’d assume Wagner LW3 and Grundstrom at RW4.
Update: Andersson was activated from the taxi squad, as was Jaret Anderson-Dolan. This could indicate the latter is also playing, slotting in on the fourth line. If JAD isn’t playing, the only other reason to activate him would be to give him a few days of NHL pay (taxi pays the same as AHL). At this point, we believe Andersson is in. If JAD or Grundstrom are also playing, that likely also means Amadio is out tonight. If JAD is in, we also think Andersson will be the 4C.
Possible line combo options:
Andersson – Vilardi – Brown
Moore – Amadio – Wagner
Grundstrom – Vilardi – Brown
Moore – Andersson – Wagner
Wagner – Vilardi – Brown
Moore – Andersson – Grundstrom/JAD
Maatta – Doughty
Anderson – Roy
Clague – Walker
This article will be updated following McLellan’s media scrum later this morning.
Comments from McLellan:
On the Kings performance vs. Colorado after the first 10 minutes of Tuesday’s game
I thought it took us that long to get up to speed with them. They were very quick, very aggressive early in the game. After that, I thought we were able to to hold our own. Certainly not pleased with the number of penalty kill situations, so that really takes – I sound like a broken record – takes a lot of players out of the game, over-taxes others. It puts their best players on the ice with a man-up and puts them into a situation where they feel good. We have to fix that at some point.
On the possibility of pairing Kale Clague with Sean Walker tonight
I think when you look at teams around the league, and the pairs that they have, the skating defenseman — the one that has good legs and can skate it out of trouble, as well as pass and visually see what’s happening in front of them, those are very valuable type defensemen. If those two play and end up playing together, we’ll feel comfortable in that in that regard.
On general thoughts about making lineup changes at this point of the season
If we do, it won’t be dramatic. We’re not gonna put everything into a blender. It’s just trying to find a few more players, get them up and running a little bit better a little bit quicker, maybe needing more from other individuals. Can one individual complement a pair right now, based on on how they’re playing? As far as inserting guys in and out of the lineup, two-fold, based on performance but also based on the ability to keep everybody ‘alive’ and close to the team. They need minutes. Keep in mind, nobody has played any exhibition games. For example, Clague has played one in the last ten months. If he goes another two weeks, we basically lost him again. It’s important that everybody gets a feel for the game with with the unpredictability of this type of season.
On the play of Adrian Kempe
We look at, not just the goals, but the scoring chances created for and against, and their impact. He plays on both special teams. I think there’s still more in Adrian. I think he can still play better. I’d like to see him get some of the holding and the hooking out of his game. He’s got such good legs and skates so well. He doesn’t need to be doing those things. There are areas in the game that he has to improve on, but he’s no different than the other 20-23 players and coaching staff and everybody else. They’re trying to find their game and they’re trying to improve on the nightly basis.
On what Blake Lizotte effective on his line
Tenacity. There’s one word to describe Lizzo, the tenacity that he brings in his game all over – with the puck, without the puck, faceoff circle, responsible, reliable player, understands structure, plays towards it, so he becomes predictable to his teammates which allows them to play around him. He’s become a very valuable player for our team in a real short period of time. … His responsibility, his ability to read and react to what’s going on around him. Feel good about him on the penalty kill, again because of the tenacity. That’s a huge defensive responsibility. Feel good about him low in our zone or high in our zone, despite his lack of size. He’s become a trusting player for not only the coaching staff, but teammates. There are guys on our team that want to play with this player and I can see why.
Other random quotes from McLellan throughout the conversation this morning:
— There’s a good penalty and then there’s a needless penalty. We haven’t taken very many good ones. We’ve been involved in a lot of needless ones. As a result, we’re sitting here with a record that isn’t necessarily indicative of our play.
— When we kill nine or 10 minutes a night in penalties, it’s taxing on our offensive players and I can’t begin to judge where we’re at until we clean that up.
— Our expectations are very high for the Doughty-Maatta pairing. We’ll have to play more games to get a better sample size to truly evaluate.
— Grundstrom was at six minutes played the other night. He deserved more, but the way the game was played, he’s not in any of those special team situations at this point. So all of a sudden, he’s sitting and watching. Yet I thought when he was on the ice, he was able to be somewhat creative in and around the net.
Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or interviews from this site please remember to include a link to www.MayorsManor.com