Life in the NHL is never easy; it’s just that some nights appear to be a little easier than others. As the Kings now turn their attention to the second-half of their current six-game road trip, things will likely get a little more challenging.
Not only are they faced with patching a lineup together while several key players are back in Los Angeles nursing injuries, they’re also about to kick off a trio of games against three solid hockey clubs.
First up is the Florida Panthers. Although Kevin Fiala will be back in the same building a week later for this year’s NHL All Star Game, it’s the only stop in Miami on the Kings 2022-23 regular season calendar. And they’ll be facing a team who is 12-6-3 at home thus far.
As outlined below, the only real pregame questions seem to surround who coach Todd McLellan will deploy at LW4 and which defenseman plays tonight vs. sitting tomorrow in Tampa Bay — will it be Toby Bjornfot or Alex Edler?
With back-to-back games this weekend, look for Pheonix Copley and Jonathan Quick to split the starts. We’re assuming Copley is up first.
Although, this is the first meeting between the clubs since the Matthew Tkachuk eye poke against Quick. So, there’s at least a small chance McLellan puts him in.
More on that November incident that earned Tkachuk a two-game suspension HERE for those who may have forgotten about it.
Either way, those previous shenanigans are also why we expect Brendan Lemieux back in the lineup tonight.
LA Kings Projected Lineup vs. Florida Panthers
Byfield – Kopitar – Kempe
Iafallo – Danault – Arvidsson
Fiala – Lizotte – JAD
Lemieux – Turcotte / Kupari – Fagemo
Anderson – Doughty
Durzi – Roy
Bjornfot / Edler – Walker
Likely Scratches: Bjornfot, Turcotte
Injured, although not yet on IR: Vilardi (out day-to-day, returned to LA for evaluation)
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 Panthers last game played, they lost a 7-6 overtime affair to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.
Since then, there have been a few updates:
Updates from Maurice:
– Barkov is fine, maintenance day
– Bennett and Staal should be good to go tomorrow
– Duclair still tracking for after ASG
– No decision on goaltender until tomorrow.
— Jameson Olive (@JamesonCoop) January 26, 2023
The #FlaPanthers have returned Grigori Denisenko to AHL Charlotte — and brought Mack Guzda back.
— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) January 27, 2023
With Leafs forward Auston Matthews now out injured for a few weeks, he’ll be replaced at the All Star Game by a local favorite — Aleksander Barkov. He’s currently on a nine-game point streak and has 43 points in 40 games played.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) January 27, 2023
Lineup image created by ALo Images
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