With a 1-2 record on their current road trip, the Kings will now look to draw even in Seattle on Saturday night – and it won’t be easy. Just last month, the Kraken handed coach Todd McLellan’s club one of the most embarrassing losses of the young season. And the second-year NHL franchise has only gained confidence since then. The Kraken enter tonight with a better points percentage than the Kings and a goal differential that is more than 10 goals in their favor, with three fewer games played.
Entering the second game of a back-to-back session, McLellan has opted to have his club skip the traditional morning skate today. Of course, this makes it all the more challenging to project tonight’s Kings lineup… we’ll still try, though.
Coming off a disappointing loss in Vancouver on Friday night, we’re expecting some changes. Could he flip the lines around? Sure. He also has two extra bodies at his disposal, and we think McLellan will use both for two entirely different reasons.
At forward, we’re looking for Lias Andersson to slide back into the lineup. Although he’s primarily been used as a top line winger with the Ontario Reign this season — putting up 9 points in 11 AHL games, including five goals — it’s far more likely he slots in as a bottom-six winger for his return to NHL action. Here’s a fun fact that could also play in the 24-year-old Swede’s favor: The last goal Andersson scored in a Kings uniform came against Seattle in April (it was also the game winner).
On the blueline, the plan coming into the season was to try and limit (or effectively manage) games played by Alex Edler. And not using him in games on consecutive nights would seem to be a great starting point. On this particular road trip, playing him in Vancouver is practically a no-brainer. He spent the bulk of his career there and was a key component to the Canucks long run of (regular season) success. If there’s a game to let him rest, this is the one. Which should leave an opening for Jacob Moverare. He played 19 games with the Kings last season, looking comfortable along the way — perhaps even ‘impressive’ would be a more apt description. Known for his high hockey IQ, Moverare had two assists in his brief taste of NHL life earlier in 2022. One of those helpers came in the aforementioned game vs. Seattle.
Get to know Moverare here:
Where will the offense come from tonight in Seattle? That’s likely the question keeping McLellan from resting easy at a Pacific Northwest hotel this morning. The Kings scored one goal last night and a single goal in their earlier season loss to the Kraken — from Alex Iafallo. So, nobody on the current roster has scored against Seattle in quite some time.
Then there’s Gabe Vilardi. Where art thou, young Lardo? Digging into the splits on his season show some remarkable consistency. He’s scored 10 goals in 20 games… that’s a 40-goal pace. How about this though:
– He’s scored four goals on the road, six at home
– He scored four goals in the first five games of the season
– Then, three goals in the next five games
– Followed by three goals in his next five games
– And the most recent five games? Zero goals
Up until this point, Vilardi has scored at least one goal on every home stand and every road trip – except the current one. Tonight, in Seattle, he’ll get his final opportunity to keep that streak alive.
LA Kings Projected Lineup vs. Seattle Kraken
Vilardi – Kopitar – Kempe
Moore – Danault – Arvidsson
Fiala – Kupari – Grundstrom
Andersson – Lizotte – Kaliyev
Anderson – Doughty
Walker – Roy
Moverare – Durzi
Scratches: Anderson-Dolan, Edler
Injured Reserve: Lemieux
Long-term Injured Reserve: Iafallo
ICYMI: We posted Alex Turcotte, Brandt Clarke, and Quinton Byfield updates recently. See below for the links.
Additional Game Notes
Puck drop is set for 7:00pm PST and will be televised by Bally Sports.
Tonight will be the 100th NHL game played in Seattle Kraken franchise history.
Seattle has already earned nine victories in their 17 games played this season; putting them well ahead of their pace from a year ago, where it took them 28 games to hit the 10-win mark. The Kraken are 7-2-1 over their last 10 contests.
On paper, the Kraken should be the fresher team too. They’ve only played once since last Sunday, a 3-2 overtime victory when they hosted the NY Rangers on Thursday.
Here’s how they lineup for that game:
Kraken line rushes vs NY Rangers, 11/17:
— Mike Benton (@Benton_Mike) November 17, 2022
Martin Jones is expected to start in net.
Jones career against the Kings:
30 games, 20-7-3, .926 save pct
— Mike Benton (@Benton_Mike) November 19, 2022
Lineup image created by ALo Images
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