If there is one thing NHL fans typically enjoy it’s when players faceoff against their former teams. In that vein, this will be stop two on the Viktor Arvidsson Revenge Tour. Back on October 19, the Kings dropped a 2-1 game to the Predators in Nashville. Arvidsson was held pointless that night. Momentum is on his side this time around, as he’s coming off a two goal, four point game vs. the Flyers on Saturday.
Even though most coaches try to refrain from changing their lineup following a win, Todd McLellan will be forced to roll with a significantly different group tonight — largely due to several regulars being held out in protocol. Up front, Martin Frk will make his NHL season debut and return to the Kings lineup for the first time since February 2021. GM Rob Blake spoke extensively about Frk and what’s expected of him during a visit to Kings Of The Podcast earlier this week:
Defensively, the hope was that Olli Maatta would be available to return for this game. However, he’s not quite ready yet – something that has been a recurring theme for players coming out of protocol.
In his place will be 23-year-old Jacob Moverare making his NHL debut. Originally selected by the Kings at the 2016 NHL Draft, when he was only 17 years old (making him one of the team’s youngest draft picks ever), Moverare arrived in North America last season to play with the Ontario Reign. Despite skating in only 26 AHL games, he was named Ontario’s Most Outstanding Defenseman.
This season, he’s put up eight points (3G, 5A) in 22 games and continued to show improvement in his overall game. For a broader look at what the Kings have in Moverare, be sure to read what Mark Yannetti had to say below — including, “Moverare, in my opinion and our staff’s opinion, had the highest hockey IQ of defensemen in the Draft. Not of Europeans, in terms of all defensemen, we think he had the highest hockey IQ, period.”
As for tonight, here is how things are shaping up…
LA KINGS PROJECTED LINEUP vs. NASHVILLE PREDATORS on 1/6
Kempe – Kopitar – Frk
Moore – Danault – Arvidsson
Andersson – Kupari – Brown
Lemieux – Lizotte – Kaliyev
Other options: Fagemo
Protocol: Grundstrom, Iafallo, Turcotte
Anderson – Doughty
Moverare – Roy
Bjornfot – Durzi
Other options: Wolanin
On the Nashville side of things:
Besides all of the aforementioned storylines heading into the game, Matt Luff could be making his return to Staples Center, as well.
Projected #Preds lineup in Vegas:
— Brooks Bratten (@brooksbratten) January 5, 2022
"Just the element that he brings every night, it's so contagious for the rest of the lineup. He's a fun player to watch. He earns everything he gets; he doesn't take a day for granted and we're lucky to have him." –> https://t.co/HMX1rEz2WG #Preds
— Brooks Bratten (@brooksbratten) January 6, 2022
KINGS MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
Anze Kopitar – needs 41 points to pass Dave Taylor for third on the Kings all-time scoring list
Dustin Brown — 8 goals away from passing Bernie Nicholls for fifth place in Kings franchise history
Drew Doughty — 11 games away from playing in his 1,000th NHL regular season game
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 pm PST tonight and the game will be on My13 KCOP.
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