Coming off two wins in a row, LA will look to keep the good times rolling tonight in Arizona.
In advance of their first meeting with the Coyotes this season, Kings coach Todd McLellan opted for an optional morning skate. Nonetheless, we’re projecting the lineup as follows:
LA Kings projected lineup vs. the Arizona Coyotes
Iafallo – Kopitar – Brown
Kempe – Vilardi – Carter
Moore – Anderson-Dolan – Grundstrom
Wagner – Lizotte – Luff *
Anderson – Doughty
Bjornfot – Roy
Maatta – Strand
Other players available:
Martin Frk (injured)
Andreas Athanasiou (non-roster)
Sean Walker (LTIR)
As of this morning, the Taxi Squad was officially listed as – Tobias Bjornfot, Austin Strand, Lias Andersson, Drake Rymsha, Boko Imama, and Troy Grosenick.
* Earlier this week, McLellan had said he hoped to have Lizotte on the roadtrip and he did practice in that spot yesterday. If he’s not quite ready for this first game, look for Andersson to slot in as the 4C.
NOTE: This article will be updated following McLellan’s media scrum later this morning.
McLellan on if he subscribes to the theory players don’t lose their place in the lineup due to injury
I don’t think we can blanket that as a whole. There are players at different spots in their careers, there are players that have different impact on our team, in our game, positional decisions come into consideration. I think that’s a very poor belief to go by. We have to make decisions on what’s best for everybody at any given moment. The answer to that is, I don’t prescribe to that, no.
On Blake Lizotte’s availability tonight
He’s an option for us tonight, yes.
On what the Coyotes bring that may a little bit different than some of the teams LA has played so far this season
On the pre-scout that I have, and I’ll tell the players this, don’t underestimate their speed or their tenacity, in all three zones. They’re quick and they have a tenacity to their game, I don’t know a better way to describe it. Their ability to strip and steal pucks, and roll out and keep plays alive, is as good as I’ve seen in some of the pre-scouts. Their goaltending has given them an opportunity to be very successful. If you’re not prepared to understand how they play or be prepared to play that way, they can surprise you, for sure. We’ll try and get our group focused on that and make sure that we’re ready to play because it’s gonna come fast and they come hard.
On if he’s talked with some of the young players about not getting too far ahead of themselves coming off the win on Tuesday
Not necessarily, the presentation as the whole to the group is that. But pulling individuals aside is something we do quite often, in regards to reviewing play, both positive and negative and trying to fix things, trying to acknowledge the success of maybe units. I think of the JAD unit right now. We had a good meeting when they were put together, then we met a few days after that and talked about their ability to forecheck and keep plays alive. Now they’re getting rewarded for it. It’s noticed by the staff and their teammates and it’s acknowledged by us. As far as putting them on notice — ‘Hey, you have to keep it going.’ — they know where they are in the league. They know that there’s players coming back. They, being the whole group, knows that we have to perform well to win on any given night. They’re pretty astute when it comes to that.
On the status of Sean Walker
Walks is with us and he’ll play on this trip.
On keys to a successful outcome vs. Arizona
Start on time. Understand and realize the type of game that will be played. We’ll have to break out clean, and a lot of times with breakouts we think of what happens below the goal line. We’ll have to do a good job of that, but then we’ll have to make that next play. From the tops of the circles to the center ice line, what can we do in those areas to get moving north and get playing into their end. We’ll have to get after a really good, hot goaltender that gives them a ton of confidence. And, as always, special teams is going to be a factor in today’s game and the 41 others that we’ll play after that. Those are some of the keys that I think will be important. There will also be others that arise during the night that we’ll have to adjust to.
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