As the Kings look to get back on the winning track Saturday night, there are perhaps more questions surrounding the team than at any point in recent weeks. After surviving a rough patch early in the season — one best defined by key injuries and covid-related absences — coach Todd McLellan circled the wagons and came out the other side with a six-game winning streak that put LA in the playoff conversation. Now, he has a myriad of lineup decisions heading into the final game of an extended road trip.
On Friday night, not only did the Kings lose 3-1 in Minnesota, they also fully manifested a “sickness” in their game that McLellan had been talking about over the past few days. Facing a Wild team in the second of back-to-back games, the Kings will look to pick up a victory (preferably in regulation) and head back to SoCal with an impressive 5-1 record on the trip.
Without a morning skate or media availability this morning, McLellan is keeping his lineup safely guarded. However, if there was ever a time to get Matt Luff a game, this is it. If not now, when?
Defensively, we’re projecting two options – one with Mikey Anderson (and we believe he’s more likely to play than not) and a different version should be held out for the third consecutive game.
LA Kings projected lineup for Game 20 vs. the Wild
Iafallo – Kopitar – Brown
Athanasiou – Vilardi – Carter
Kempe – Amadio – Grundstrom *
Moore – Lizotte – Luff *
* Andersson could slot in on either line.
To do so, he’ll need to be activated off the taxi squad by 2pm PST. If that happens, we’ll update this article. Andersson has been activated, with the expectation he’ll play tonight. Possible replacement for Amadio? Luff out again?
Anderson – Doughty
Bjornfot – Roy
Maatta – Walker
Alternate D pairings should Anderson sit out:
Bjornfot – Doughty
Walker – Roy
Maatta – Strand
Other players available:
Martin Frk (IR)
Jaret Anderson-Dolan (IR)
Current taxi squad listed as – Rasmus Kupari, Lias Andersson, Drake Rymsha, Boko Imama, and Troy Grosenick.
As a reminder, the Kings and Wild will wear their Reverse Retro jerseys tonight. It’s the only time this season the Kings are scheduled to play in a double Reverse Retro game.
Thoughts from Alex Iafallo:
Iafallo on how he complements Kopitar and the first line
I’m just trying to get the puck onto his stick, good forecheck, and play each zone. I feel like I’ve learned that from them, just staying consistent in each zone. That’s what I’ve been trying to do and help to just get the puck.
On if he’s noticed anything different that may be contributing to Brown’s success
He’s just shooting more and we’re going to the net, making plays off the pads. Feel like that goes a long way; shooting the puck and getting it back creates offense. He’s been doing great for us.
On Being part of the middle veteran core, and on younger players asking him questions
It’s good that they’re asking those questions. Whether it’s special teams or minor questions, it’s nice that they’re coming to us, the middle core, and asking those types of questions. It helps their game, it helps us too to understand what’s going on, what they see. It’s definitely helpful, for sure.
On his contract status, being a pending UFA this summer
Right now, just trying to focus on what we’re doing. We’re trying to make a playoff push and I’m just focused on that, focused on winning games, and helping the team out. … I love it here. Hopefully, I end up here. At the same time, I’m just trying to play hockey and see what happens. I definitely would like to stay here, for sure.
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