Following a just completed 2-2-0 road trip, the Kings return to Downtown LA on Tuesday night to take on the scorching hot Edmonton Oilers. The depth of the Kings organization has been put to the test of late, and continues to be a key discussion point.
Something to monitor as regular season draws to an end:
From the sounds of things, not expecting Gabe Vilardi to return very soon.
Has 23 goals in 63 GP this season; leads #GoKingsGo in shooting percentage (18.9%) and GWG (6). Also, his 18 EV goals are third most on the team. pic.twitter.com/OKbyTUUKD1
— The Mayor | Team MM (@mayorNHL) April 4, 2023
With injuries to players such as Gabe Vilardi, Kevin Fiala, Mikey Anderson, and now Alex Edler, LA gladly took the four out of eight possible points on the road as a positive. What comes next could be a point of concern. LA sits second in the Pacific Division, trailing Vegas by three points and maintaining a one point lead on Edmonton. With just five games remaining in the regular season, the top seed in the Pacific is still up for grabs — with the Kings set to play the Oilers and Golden Knights in their next two matchups. Undoubtedly, these are the biggest games of the year for LA, who are playing for their first Pacific Division title as well as home ice advantage come game 83.
It’s repeated whenever LA plays Edmonton, but it also usually holds true when these teams meet up… If the Kings want to have a chance to find success tonight, they need to stay out of the penalty box. The Oilers have a historically dangerous power play that regularly produces for their team. The top three power play producers in the NHL are all Oilers. Connor McDavid has 61 power play points, Leon Draisaitl has 52 to his name, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has 44. Head coach Jay Woodcroft has no problem keeping that top unit out there the entire two minutes, so what’s the best way to neutralize their threat? Don’t go to the penalty box against this team; play disciplined and force the Oilers to make mistakes.
Indications are, Kevin Fiala will once again miss tonight’s game, leaving the forward lines to look the same as they did on Sunday. Defensively speaking, Alex Edler left that game due to injury, so look for Toby Bjornfot to slot in on the third pair. Given the recent rotation, we’re expecting Pheonix Copley in goal tonight, followed by Joonas Korpisalo probably getting the nod in Vegas on Thursday.
Perhaps the Kings will be looking for some revenge tonight. Not only did the Oilers beat them last week in Edmonton, but rookie goalie Stuart Skinner made 43 saves in a 2-0 shutout. There was also the hit on Anderson that didn’t sit right with many people in LA hockey circles. Bottom line, these two teams don’t seem to like each other; and with another possible date in the playoffs lined up, it’s starting to feel like the ‘90s all over again.
Before the game tonight, be sure to test your Kings knowledge here:
LA Kings Projected Lineup vs. Edmonton Oilers
Byfield – Kopitar – Kempe
Moore – Danault – Arvidsson
Iafallo – Lizotte – Kaliyev
Grundstrom – Kupari – MacEwen
Gavrikov – Doughty
Durzi – Roy
Bjornfot – Walker
Likely scratches: Anderson, Anderson-Dolan, Edler (upper body), Fiala (lower body), Vilardi
Key Game Info
Puck drop is set for 7:30 pm PST and will be televised by ESPN.
For those live in attendance, the LA Kings Booster Club will offer their popular ‘Puck for a Buck’ contest — featuring Trevor Moore for this game. Just $1 could win you an autographed puck from an NHL star. Visit their table near aisle M8 on the main concourse for more information.
Across the Ice
In their last contest, the Oilers defeated the Anaheim Ducks by a score of 6-0.
Since the @EdmontonOilers acquired Mattias Ekholm:
Mattias Ekholm: 3-8-11/+18/16 GP/20:58 TOI
Evan Bouchard: 3-11-14/+6/16 GP/21:17 TOI
(Bouchard is 9th in NHL D scoring since March 1st) pic.twitter.com/bH82z0NrKF
— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) April 3, 2023
On This Day in Kings History
On April 4, 1990, Tony Granato and Luc Robitaille scored two goals in 18 seconds in Game 1 of the Smythe Division Semifinals. The @LAKings scored four unanswered goals in the third period to defeat the defending Stanley Cup champion Calgary Flames, 5-3.#LAKings #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/ADKkqv3Vuw
— The Kingstorian (@Kingstorian) April 4, 2023
Checking in with Cal: Petersen’s Thoughts on Playoffs, Positioning, and Preparation
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