Enough with single point games, the Kings are thinking ‘two points’ heading into their rematch with the Anaheim Ducks. Neither coach was particularly thrilled with Monday’s 6-5 game, so expect a tighter contest this time around.
As for the lineup, Toby Bjornfot is still questionable at the time of this post. We’ll see what develops coming out of this morning’s optional pre-game skate.
No Jonathan Quick at LA Kings practice today.
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) March 10, 2021
As we noted in yesterday's article, Kupari won't play tonight.
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) March 10, 2021
LA Kings projected lineup for Game 25 vs. Anaheim Ducks
Iafallo – Kopitar – Brown
Athanasiou – Vilardi – Carter
Grundstrom – Amadio – Kempe
Moore – Lizotte – Wagner
Anderson – Doughty
Bjornfot – Roy *
Maatta – Walker *
* If Bjornfot is out, we’d expect parings of Mattaa-Roy and MacDermid-Walker
Petersen (starter) Moved to protocol list at 4pm
Other players available:
Martin Frk (IR)
Jaret Anderson-Dolan (IR)
Current taxi squad listed as – Tobias Bjornfot, Rasmus Kupari, Austin Strand, and Matt Villalta.
There will be only three on taxi, rather than the usual four, because Ingham is still in travel protocol.
Austin Strand and Rasmus Kupari have been returned to AHL Ontario.
Taxi squad now listed as – Lias Andersson, Daniel Brickley, Drake Rymsha,
and Matt Villalta.
This should lead to Bjornfot playing.
NOTE: This article will be updated with Todd McLellan quotes following his media scrum
McLellan on what Trevor Moore brings to LA’s group of forwards
He’s one of the most consistent, in my opinion. When you evaluate a player, you have to look at him for what he is and what he can bring. Then, you look at his game and see if it’s consistently there. For what Moore brings, and his skill set, it shows up every night. We feel fortunate to have him. He plays a lot of different situations for us. It seems like any line he goes on they seem to take the energy level up a little bit. Their forecheck the other night was really good. It was the best that we had on our team, it came from that line, and we hope that continues.
On Moore’s penalty killing minutes and his success on the PK
He was a very offensive guy in college. He was on one of the top lines in the nation, he scored. Often, those type of players are good penalty killers because they can anticipate, they understand offensively what might happen. As a result, he’s become a real good penalty killer for us. Perhaps he left college thinking he was gonna get a lot of power play time, but he’s been able to adapt and use his skill set to penalty kill. He’s a very trusted player right now by the staff and certainly by his teammates.
On what makes a good penalty kill and how have the Kings done overall this season
Penalty kill has structure. Power play is a little more artistry, maybe a little more free play, creativity. Penalty kill is structure. When one player reacts, the other three need to have some predictability of what’s gonna happen next so they can get ahead of it. In my mind, that’s how penalty kills work. This year, our penalty kill has been fairly strong. We get stung a few nights on some sloppy mistakes, but that does happen. We are a little more predictable with each other than we were early last year. After Christmas last year, it improved a lot. It’s been consistent throughout.
On Athanasiou bringing something different to the group this season
He’s a fast, slippery player. The goal he scored the other day, he comes up with a loose puck and in his escape skills — we don’t talk a lot about that, but his ability to escape out of crowds or to dart to open ice and buy himself or his teammates some time is significant. He used it the other day and it just adds a different ingredient into the mix. Again, we’re fortunate to have him right now.
On Rasmus Kupari in his first three NHL games
Rasmus won’t draw in tonight. He’s handled his first three games really well; an introduction to the intensity, the speed, the preparation of the National Hockey League is really good for him at this point in his career. He earned the right to be here for a short period. He got to experience it and hopefully he takes that with him back down to the Reign and they get things going down there, where he can be a big factor – which he was early in the year. He’s aware of some of the things that we’d like him to continue to work on. He’s 20 years old, he’s played 25-30 games in the American League, he’s coming off a knee injury. I think he’s taken great strides to get through some adversity and put himself on the map.
On if Jonathan Quick and JAD will travel with the team tomorrow
Good questions. In all honesty, I can’t even answer that question right now. We’re so focused on today’s events. They’re both improving, they’re both getting closer. I don’t know. I apologize, I don’t have the answer for you.
On if Bjornfot will be ready to go tonight
He’s out skating right, the pre-game skate. We’ll see how he is. He was better yesterday. He’s getting close. We’ll have to make a decision on whether it’s worth the risk or not. We’ll make that decision later today.
On if any decision to play Austin Strand tonight is tied to Bjornfot being in the lineup or if it’s an independent decision
There’s always a chance. Again, I don’t know. Which seems real odd, ‘This dumb coach doesn’t know what he’s doing.’ But we have to get a report from players and from the medical staff to make decisions going forward.
On getting off to a better start
We discussed it yesterday, as a group, and there’s a pattern. It’s not a one-off, there’s a pattern right now of our starts falling behind. We talked about the resilience of the group and the ability to fight back. All of those characteristics are really good ones to have within the locker room, but where are we for the first 10-12 minutes of the game? It’s certainly something we have to improve on. There’s not one area that we can put our finger on. It’s not like we’re poor defensively, losing face-offs, power play, penalty kill. Every night, it seems to be something different. Let’s try and clean that stuff up. Let’s see what we can do with playing with a lead here, it’s been a while. Sometimes that other team gets in the way too and they’re playing well. We’ll work on it
ICYMI – See here for seven key notes from Kings practice on Tuesday.
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