Most NHL coaches don’t like to make lineup changes coming off of a win.
The Kings don’t have that problem. They’ve dropped three straight games.
LA coach Todd McLellan usually prefers to have players get a good practice in with the team before slotting them back into the lineup. The Kings don’t have that luxury today, as they prepare to play the second game of a back-to-back set on the road.
We’ve been wrong before — and, sure, we’ll be wrong again at some point this season — however, we’d be willing to bet a huge helping of poutine that rookie Alex Turcotte finds his way into the lineup tonight. After being recalled to the NHL as the Kings boarded their plane to leave SoCal on Friday, the 21-year-old forward skated in pregame warmups on Saturday in Nashville. Now, it’s time for McLellan to figure out if he wants to use him at center or wing.
Originally from Elk Grove Village, IL, just outside Chicago, Turcotte had his first taste of NHL life last season. That came over an eight-game stretch from late December to mid-January. One year later, he’s poised to suit up for the Kings again; coming off of 19 games with AHL Ontario thus far, where he’s put up 12 points (5G, 7A) in 19 games. If he gets in, he’s coming in fairly hot, having put up 7 points in his 7 most recent games played with the Reign — including four goals. During a brief 8 game stint with the Kings in 2021-22, he did not record a point.
Against the Blackhawks, Turcotte will most likely enter as a center, with Rasmus Kupari sitting out. It’s possible McLellan then shuffles his bottom-6 and reunites Blake Lizotte and Jaret Anderson-Dolan with Brendan Lemieux on the fourth line. Or, he could simply go the conservative route of exchanging Kupari for Turcotte.
We’re also expecting defenseman Toby Bjornfot to draw in tonight vs. the Blackhawks, most likely in place of veteran Alex Edler.
Perhaps the biggest question McLellan needs to answer today is who will start in net. Jonathan Quick was likely penciled in as the starter 36 hours ago. Now, after coming in to relieve Pheonix Copley less than a minute into yesterday’s game vs. the Predators, would McLellan go right back to Quick again?
Your #GoKingsGo question of the day…
Who would you start in goal today vs #Blackhawks
— The Mayor | Team MM (@mayorNHL) January 22, 2023
Without a morning skate, the below projection is a guesstimate at best.
LA Kings Projected Lineup vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Byfield – Kopitar – Kempe
Iafallo – Danault – Arvidsson
Fiala – Turcotte – Fagemo
Lemieux – Lizotte – JAD
Anderson – Doughty
Durzi – Roy
Bjornfot – Walker
Scratches: Edler, Kupari, Vilardi (out day-to-day)
Injured Reserve: Grundstrom (Jan. 19), Moore (Jan. 6), Kaliyev (retro to Dec. 20, expected out several weeks)
Additional Game Info
Puck drop is set for 4:00 pm PST and will be televised by Bally Sports.
In the Blackhawks last game played, they won 5-3 in St. Louis yesterday.
Son of former Kings goalie Robb Stauber was in net for Chicago in that one:
Lineup image created by ALo Images
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