Now that their first win is out of the way, the Kings will look to settle in and get rolling on the young 2023-24 campaign. There was a lot to like about the victory in Winnipeg earlier this week; the challenge ahead will be to find some consistency.
On Thursday night, LA is set to take on the Minnesota Wild. Once again, there is a personnel reunion of sorts. For the first time, former second-rounder Brock Faber will face the team that drafted him. He will also go up against the man who went the other way in that deal, Kevin Fiala. In addition, Cam Talbot also returns to Minnesota, where he spent two seasons himself several years back. While it’s just another 60 minutes with two points up for grabs, those games seem to always be extra meaningful when players return to face their former squad.
Although LA was able to dominate most of their previous contest, coach Todd McLellan will be looking for a better start from his team this time. In all three of their games thus far, LA has come out looking flat and sloppy in the first period. That is a trend that must come to an end here shortly if the team has plans to establish any sort of sustained success. From game and puck management, to clean break-outs, it all has to be better.
In net, McLellan often sticks with a “hot goaltender” when not playing back-to-back games. Should that trend continue, expect Talbot to get his second consecutive start between the pipes. He stopped 26 of 27 shots on Tuesday, and for a good stretch of the game was the Kings best player. With more performances like that, he’ll likely be getting a majority of the starts as the season moves along.
Same LAK 6D (Englund/Spence 3rd pair) as Winnipeg W for tonight v MIN at Xcel.
— Dennis Bernstein (@DennisTFP) October 19, 2023
LA Kings Projected Lineup vs. Minnesota Wild
Byfield – Kopitar – Kempe
Moore – Danault – Kaliyev
Fiala – Dubois – Laferriere
Grundstrom – Lizotte – Lewis
Anderson – Doughty
Gavrikov – Roy
Englund – Spence
Likely scratches: Anderson-Dolan, Bjornfot
Key Game Info
Puck drop is set for 5:00 pm PST and will be televised by Bally Sports West with Nick Nickson on play-by-play.
Anze Kopitar is set to tie Dustin Brown for the most games played in franchise history at 1,296. Tonight will also mark the captain’s 647th career road game, which will surpass Brown for the most road games played all-time.
Additionally, Kopitar is just 5 games from 1,300 and 5 goals from 400 in his career.
Other milestones coming up:
Drew Doughty – 2 games from 1,100
Trevor Lewis – 5 games from 900; 10 goals from 100
Blake Lizotte – 9 points from 100
Mikey Anderson – 3 games from 200
— Forward Adrian Kempe skates into Xcel Energy Center with a four-game road point streak (4+3=7) against the Wild, dating back to Feb. 27, 2021. A point tonight would tie Kempe with Ziggy Pálffy (5GP, 3+5=8) for the longest road point streak against the Wild in Kings history.
— Rookie forward Alex Laferriere leads all Kings skaters in shots this season with 12.
— Since the beginning of the season, the Kings have successfully killed off 10 of 11 penalties, including their last nine consecutive, for a penalty-killing percentage of 90.9%. This is tied for second-best in the league (min. GP: 3).
Across the Ice
Here’s how the Wild lined up in their previous contest:
Kaprizov – Hartman – Zuccarello
Foligno – Rossi – Gaudreau
Maroon – Dewar – Duhaime
Johansson – Eriksson Ek – Foligno
Faber – Middleton
Addison – Brodin
Merrill–l – Mermis
On This Day in Kings History
On October 19, 1988, Wayne Gretzky returned to Northlands Coliseum as a member of the @LAKings and received a three-minute standing ovation from 17,503 fans. Gretzky recorded two assists and four shots on goal in an 8-6 loss against the Edmonton Oilers.#LAKings #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/0xGXO1d7Vc
— The Kingstorian (@Kingstorian) October 19, 2023
Game day graphic created by ALo Images
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