Questions abound as the LA Kings make their first stop of a six-game Eastern road trip on Tuesday night. For today’s pregame preview, let’s tackle five of those questions:
1. More than anything else, the Kings need two points. Although they earned points in three of the four games on their most recent homestand, two of those games were disappointing overtime losses — including a 3-2 affair to the Senators. Based on what he was showing at the team’s final practice before leaving Los Angeles, coach Todd McLellan appears to be considering tinkering with his lines. Will that be enough to get a victory in Canada’s capital?
2. Given his time in the Montreal organization, forward Phil Danault has played more games than any other LA forward against Ottawa. In 31 career games versus the Senators (the most he has played against any NHL team), Danault has recorded 21 points.
However, he hasn’t found the back of the net vs. Ottawa since signing in LA. Should he score tonight, he will tie Anze Kopitar, who has five career goals against the Senators (the most among active Kings skaters).
Bonus Trivia — All time, which LA Kings player has scored the most goals against Ottawa? (Answer at the bottom of this article)
3. Will Alex Iafallo return for his first game since October? All indications are the 28-year-old forward will be activated in time for tonight’s game. Prior to his leg injury, Iafallo had played in only four games this year, recording five points (2G, 3A).
UPDATE: Iafallo has been officially activated for the purpose of playing vs. Ottawa.
4. Coming into the season, McLellan was excited about the idea of playing Iafallo on a line with Quinton Byfield.
When will Byfield be recalled from AHL Ontario? From what we are hearing, if everybody remains healthy, he will most likely not join the Kings until after their current road trip.
In 10 games with the Reign thus far, he has had seven goals and 10 points, including a hat trick in his most recent outing.
5. What’s next for rookie Brandt Clarke?
It basically comes down to this, will he play against Ottawa? If he does, that likely signals he’s not going to the World Juniors. If he sits out again, look for him to join Team Canada at their WJC camp on Friday.
From what we’ve been told, he is not scheduled to play tonight.
LA Kings Projected Lineup vs. Ottawa Senators
Fiala – Kopitar – Kaliyev
Moore – Danault – Arvidsson
Iafallo – Kempe – Vilardi
Grundstrom – Lizotte – Fagemo / JAD
Anderson – Doughty
Durzi – Roy
Edler – Walker
Scratches: Anderson-Dolan, Björnfot, Clarke
Injured Reserve: Lemieux (targeting mid-December)
Additional Game Notes
Puck drop is set for 4:00pm PST and will be televised by Bally Sports West.
Since the Senators overtime victory in LA a little over a week ago, they’ve played four games, including trading wins in a home-and-home series with the New York Rangers. Last time out, Ottawa toppled San Jose 5-2 on Saturday. Here’s how the Senators lined up for that one:
Tkachuk – Stützle – Giroux
DeBrincat – Pinto – Batherson
Motte – Gambrell – Joseph
Kelly – Kastelic – Watson
Chabot – Zaitsev
Sanderson – Hamonic
Brannstrom – Holden
Cam Talbot is likely to start vs. the Kings. It’s also possible Derick Brassard draws in at 3C.
Trivia answer — Luc Robitaille, 8 goals in 11 games
Lineup image created by ALo Images
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