After a steady diet of the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues this season, now the Kings are in a stretch where they’re facing off with a pair of their regular division rivals over eight games. After just completing a weekend series vs. Vegas, they’ll now see San Jose for a pair, then do it all over again with another four-game stretch vs. the Golden Knights and Sharks.
In the only two previous games between the Kings and Sharks, played more than a month ago in Los Angeles, it was San Jose taking the first matchup in a shootout, followed by a big 6-2 win for the Kings. Much has changed since then. For example, Michael Amadio, Lias Anderson, and Austin Strand are not expected to be in the lineup this time around. Toby Bjornfot very well could be – although that remains to be seen, as he was absent from the last game, and believed to be a healthy scratch.
Beyond a change from switching goalies, just about anything is fair game compared to what coach Todd McLellan used on Sunday. Gabe Vilardi could be left on the fourth line, he could also slide back into his more customary spot on the second (read: third) line. If he moves up there, is it to play center or perhaps wing?
That decision alone will greatly impact what happens on the other lines. Without a pregame skate today there isn’t much to go off of, so take this with a few extra grains of salt.
Also of note, Olli Maatta did not travel with the team. He left Sunday’s game in the first period with an apparent injury. Austin Strand has been recalled.
LA Kings projected lineup vs. San Jose Sharks
Iafallo – Kopitar – Brown
Grundstrom – JAD – Moore
Athanasiou – Kempe – Carter *
Vilardi – Lizotte – Wagner *
* Alternate Option:
Kempe – Vilardi – Carter
Athanasiou – Lizotte – Luff / Wagner
Anderson – Doughty
Bjornfot – Roy
MacDermid – Walker
Other players available:
Martin Frk (IR)
The taxi squad is currently comprised of Michael Amadio, Daniel Brickley, Drake Rymsha, and Troy Grosenick
Although the Kings opted to skip morning skate and media availability today, Jaret Anderson-Dolan did recently share the following comments:
On if his line plays differently when they get more minutes, and if they are able to keep that same energy the whole game
Yeah, I don’t think it really changes anything. Ice time is something you want; I don’t think we change anything. The other night when we were getting a little more minutes, we’ve been able to keep it up pretty well. Our line has been having success for the reason that we work hard. A couple extra minutes will just hopefully add to that.
On the extra media attention he has been getting
It’s great and all that, but I’m just happy to be back in the lineup and grateful for the opportunities I’ve been getting to show what I have and help the team win. That stuff comes with it, but it’s just helping the team win. I’ve been very blessed to be able to get back in and be put in situations to succeed here.
On what he is trying to focus on when engaging in stick battles
It’s just getting low and being strong. Obviously, not the biggest guy out there, just using my weight smartly. I’m not gonna out-power anybody, especially some of those bigger defensemen. It’s about the body position. Honestly, it comes down to being competitive, still working on that. I can win a lot more loose puck battles. It comes down to who wants it more at the end.
On when it became apparent to him, Carl Grundstrom, and Trevor Moore that there was chemistry between the three of them
I’m not sure if there’s really an exact moment that comes to mind. It was just something we worked on as we spent more time together in practice getting more familiar with each other. That second game in Vegas, that pass from behind by [Moore] for my first goal, that’s where. If there was a moment, that would be it. That chemistry, he didn’t even look and knew I was there. Maybe that was it. It’s not really any particular moment, it just comes with spending a lot of time together in practice and becoming more familiar with each other. I spent some time with Carl last year, but me and [Moore] clicked right away, that doesn’t always happen, so it’s pretty cool.
On what he did in the week leading up to his return to prepare to get back into the lineup
I had a lot of conditioning skates, getting my legs back underneath me. That few days in Colorado, those skates are a little bit tough. That helped when I got back, having my lungs and my legs back under me. I wasn’t really doing much contact, I was shooting and getting that strength back in my shoulder. More just conditioning so when I got back in, I’d be able to keep up and pick up where I left off.
On how he plans on maintaining his current level of play
Take advantage of every opportunity you get. It’s a blessing to be in the lineup, you can’t take that for granted. That’s kind of the mindset I have, approach every game like it’s like my last and make the most of every opportunity I have.
More with Anderson-Dolan can be found at the link below, where he was a guest on Kings Of The Podcast over the weekend.
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