It’s far too early to call the Kings and Kraken rivals at this point, yet there is a certain amount of bite to Tuesday night’s matchup.
After handily beating up on Seattle all last season, making them look like the first-year expansion team that they were, LA has not found the same success during the Kraken’s sophomore campaign. An opening week loss at home last month was followed up by another loss (albeit in overtime) at Climate Pledge Arena less than two weeks ago.
Former Kings netminder Martin Jones has largely been the difference. Not only is he 2-0 against his old club this season, the 30-year-old goalie is also an astonishing 21-7-3 in his career versus Los Angeles. What’s so remarkable about it is his .862 save percentage in those games. In the aforementioned pair of games recently, he is allowed a combined three goals for a 1.47 goals against average.
For coach Todd McClellan, the importance of tonight’s game extends beyond rebounding from a disappointing loss to Ottawa on Sunday. His team has not fared well against Pacific Division competition in 2022-23, and with Seattle ahead of them in the standings, tonight is a proverbial four-point game.
LA KINGS ROSTER MOVES
Samuel Fagemo and defenseman Jordan Spence have been recalled from AHL Ontario.
Lias Andersson has been returned to the Reign.
— The Mayor | Team MM (@mayorNHL) November 29, 2022
As for the lineup, McLellan could possibly have another game time decision on his hands with Gabe Vilardi. The 23-year-old forward skated in practice on Monday, yet there is no guarantee he will be ready to go tonight. We’ll assume he’s in, with Sammy Fagemo serving as the potential fill in.
After making his NHL debut last season and playing four games with the Kings, this is Fageno’s first call up of the year. In 15 games with AHL Ontario thus far, he leads the club in goals (6) and power-play goals (4). Originally selected by the Kings in the second round of the 2019 NHL Draft (50th overall), the 22-year-old Swedish forward has produced 70 points (43G, 27A) in 110 career games with Ontario.
Because the Kings don’t want to play Brandt Clarke this week — for reasons explained here — Jordan Spence has also been recalled from AHL Ontario.
In 17 games with the Reign this season, the 21-year-old blueliner has posted 16 points. That leads all defensemen on the team and he’s second among all AHL defensemen with 15 assists. Like Fagemo, Spence made his NHL debut last season and eventually played 24 games for the club; leading Kings rookie defensemen in time-on-ice per game (19:45). Additionally, he led all AHL rookie defensemen in assists (38) and points (42), earning AHL First All-Star Team and AHL All-Rookie Team honors.
Clarke, Fagemo, and Spence stayed on the ice late after morning skate, which is usually a strong indicator of who will be a healthy scratch for the upcoming game.
LA Kings Projected Lineup vs. Seattle Kraken
Fiala – Kopitar – Kempe
Moore – Danault – Arvidsson
Vilardi / Fagemo – Lizotte – Grundstrom
JAD – Kupari – Kaliyev
Anderson – Doughty
Durzi – Roy
Edler – Walker
Scratches: Fagemo, Clarke, Spence
Injured Reserve: Lemieux (targeting around Dec. 17)
Long-term Injured Reserve: Iafallo (has begun skating, targeted for mid-late December return)
Additional Game Notes
Puck drop is set for 7:30pm PST and will be televised by Bally Sports West.
Last time out, Seattle defeated Anaheim 5-4 on Sunday. It was their 10th win in 12 games. Here’s how the Kraken lined up for that one:
Schwartz – Wennberg – Burakovsky
McCann – Beniers – Eberle
Tanev – Gourde – Bjorkstrand
Donato – Geekie – Sprong
Larsson – Dunn
Oleksiak – Schultz
Soucy – Borgen
Lineup image created by ALo Images
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