After earning one point in a shootout loss to the Sharks a few nights ago, the Kings are now preparing for a rematch with their rivals from Northern California.
LA coach Todd McLellan put his team through the usual paces at today’s morning skate at TSPC. It was an optional skate, and all players were accounted for expect Dustin Brown (maintenance day). Thus, the following lineup is a projection and will be adjusted, as needed, following McLellan’s availability.
LA Kings projected lineup for Game 13 vs. the San Jose Sharks
Iafallo – Kopitar – Brown
Kempe – Vilardi – Carter
Wagner – Amadio – Andersson (Luff?)
Moore – Anderson-Dolan – Grundstrom
Anderson – Doughty
MacDermid/Maatta – Clague
Bjornfot – Strand
* McLellan previously noted that he hopes to get Bjornfot in a game soon
Other players available:
Martin Frk (injured)
Matt Roy (IR)
Sean Walker (IR)
Just to circle back to last intermission…
Matt Luff should absolutely play.
Great shot, had a great camp, impressed people, and has matured. He's earned an extended look.
Luff is 23 years old with only 53 NHL GP, his window is still wide open.
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) February 10, 2021
The Taxi Squad is officially listed as – Lias Anderson, Tobias Bjornfot, Austin Strand, and Jacob Ingham. Thus, there will need to be some roster moves made to get a few of those guys back into the lineup. In turn, a few players will likely be recalled from AHL Ontario to fill the mandatory minimum of four taxi players.
Goaltender Martin Jones is scheduled to start again for the San Jose Sharks.
This article will be updated following McLellan’s media scrum later this morning.
McLellan on what he wants to see from his team early first period
First off, I want to see us win face-offs because then you have it and it allows you to to play on your toes. You get to take the game to the other team rather than receive it. A lot of our early face-off woes put us in our end, so let’s change that. Then I want to see five guys play with confidence early and get aggressive, whether it’s in our end or in their end. I want to see us get ahead in the game. A lot of times we fall behind because that first, second, third shift goes a little too long and we’re in our end. The other team gets fresh guys on the ice before we do and then we just keep receiving the game for a while. All of those things are little things that add up to make a big difference. A lot is made of and we even talk about, ‘Hey, we want to score the first goal.’ Well, you can’t base everything on scoring first. It would be nice, but it’s all the work that leads up to that goal that’s important.
On if he’s seeing the same issues over the first 12 games regarding poor starts or if it’s been a variety of different factors
There has been a variety, but getting ahead in the game, not necessarily by score but by control, is a concern of ours. When we have a tendency to come back, you can see us get control of the game and be the aggressor, rather than the receiver. It makes a big difference. There are different areas of the game that have created issues for us. Earlier in the year, there were a lot of penalties so it took a lot of guys out of the game. We spent way too much time doing that. Sometimes, the team just isn’t mentally prepared to play. That can really cost you as well. Vegas was long, we got caught up the ice. The other night, we brought pucks back into our own zone when we needed a line change, that cost us. There’s a bunch of variables that go into play.
On Kale Clague taking advantage of the opportunity with Doughty out on Tuesday, trying to cement himself in the lineup
I believe so. Sometimes when that happens during the game, the players that take more on or find themselves in situations that they may not find themselves in, they don’t have time to think about it, they just play, they react. And they end up playing quite well. I think of Austin Strand, for example – getting the opportunity and who would have guessed, three or four weeks ago that he’d be out in overtime, 3-on-3, playing against one of our rivals? I think he would have dreamt about it. I think we would have hoped it happened, but in reality we weren’t there yet. Yet, he played that situation real well. He had no time to think about it, he was just going to play. That’s important, especially with all those inexperienced defensemen on the back-end. ‘Do what you can, do your best, and we’ll help you with the mistakes. We’ll take the best game that you have right now and be happy with it.’ For the most part, they’ve given us that.
On the versatility of Lias Andersson
There’s value in a player who can move from line to line, can play in different special team situations, understand how each position needs to be played. If you’re just pigeonholed in one spot and can only do that, when it’s not going so well for you and you’re having a bad night, we don’t have any other way of triggering maybe a good shift or two out of you by switching it up. Lias has been able to play wing, he’s been able to play center, he’s been on the power play and the penalty kill. He’s had some really good nights as as a King and he’s had some average nights. That’s what happens when you’re a young player, but his ability to be a utility player comes in handy when you’re on the bench.
On how he goes about picking players for the shootout
We look at everything. We look at what they’ve done in the past and we have to go beyond the NHL. Obviously, some of these players have done at the American League or at junior and had a lot of success, so we look at that. Then we think about the game as a whole, who’s been involved and who hasn’t. [On Tuesday], we picked a player that didn’t play a lot down the the stretch in Lias, that was based upon what he’s done in the past and our belief in him in that situation. The book on some of the veterans is out. Sometimes they are successful with the same move or the same play. Logan Couture, for example, he scored the other night and I’ve seen that shot a number of times. He has a couple other really good moves. But the unpredictability of some of the younger players is something that you might be able to take advantage of. Both Lias and Gabe did a tremendous job on their their opportunity to shoot. Lias with his shot off the post, had him beat. Gabe me a hell of a move and Jones made a heck of a save, but there was room there to actually put it in, as well. So some of the unpredictability is also important in that.
On if Bjornfot draws in tonight
Toby’s an important player and there’s a chance that he’ll get into the lineup tonight. We’re hoping that he gives us a good 60 minute start when he does get that opportunity.
On the status of Martin Frk
He’s injured right now, he’s not even skating or practicing. Really unfortunate for him, he worked hard over the summer and finished last season on a strong note. I think he’s played two periods, not even two full periods, and then was injured again. I don’t know when he’ll get back on the ice.
ICYMI – McLellan’s quotes from yesterday’s practice were posted here – and included notes on Drew Doughty’s status and Matt Roy’s return to the ice.
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