Following three straight days of practice, Tuesday’s morning skate was optional for the LA Kings.
Given the way players were arranged over the weekend, and combined with coach Todd McLellan saying he expects Gabe Vilardi to play (after being absent from practice yesterday), we’re projecting the lineup as follows:
LA Kings projected lineup for Game 14 vs. the Minnesota Wild
Iafallo – Kopitar – Brown
Kempe – Vilardi – Carter
Moore – Anderson-Dolan – Grundstrom
Wagner – Andersson – Luff
Anderson – Doughty
Bjornfot – Roy
Maatta – Strand
Other players available:
Martin Frk (injured)
Blake Lizotte (non-roster)
Andreas Athanasiou (non-roster)
Sean Walker (LTIR)
As of this morning, the Taxi Squad is officially listed as – Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Tobias Bjornfot, Kale Clague, and Troy Grosenick.
UPDATED 2:30pm – With JAD and Bjornfot activated to play, Drake Rymsha and Boko Imama have been recalled from AHL Ontario and placed on the taxi squad (to meet the league minimum of four taxi players).
NOTE: This article will be updated following McLellan’s media scrum later this morning.
McLellan on how Lizotte and Athanasiou have looked since returning to practice the past few days
They’ve both have skated. Lizzo is a little bit ahead of Andreas, but both look good. I was hoping they could be available tonight, but obviously I’m not the one that gets to make those decisions, based on protocol and return to play theory. We’ll take it day by day. They’ll both make the road trip and hopefully, at some point during that trip, they’ll be available.
On if he’s already noticed any benefits from this brief time off
Best answer might come after the game tonight. It’s always good to have time off, to get good practice time in. You can get more specific, you can work individuals harder in practice knowing they have a day or two to recover. We covered a lot of areas of the the game, both offensively and defensively. The last time we had this break, we came out of it against the Ducks and had an awful outing. This time, I expect something different from our group. As I mentioned yesterday, the excuse of being a little bit rusty and having time off doesn’t apply to our team at all. It may to Minnesota, considering the amount of time they’ve been off, but certainly not to our group.
On looking at the last five periods of play, what stands out about how the Kings have played
Defensively, we still gave up opportunities, we gave up chances. A lot of teams are going to do that, but the other team had to earn them, in my opinion. In some of the games that we played and have been close in, or lost by more than one — including a game in Minnesota — I thought we gifted teams goals. I think in Minnesota, the blocked shot and then open net, and they go for a breakaway. I think of us going in 3-on-2, turning it over, and then coming back on a 2-on-1; just individual mistakes that really cost the team as a whole. You’re gonna have that on any given night, guys are gonna make mistakes. But we had fewer of them against against San Jose and, as a result, we were able to outscore our mistakes – which often has to happen if you’re gonna win a game.
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