For their second of only three meetings this season, the Kings and Golden Knights will take their rivalry to Sin City on Wednesday night. Last month, the teams met up in Los Angeles, with the reigning Stanley Cup Champions flexing their muscles in a 4-3 shootout victory on a goal by Jack Eichel. The Kings had a 2-0 advantage in that game nearing the halfway mark of play, only to see the visiting team score three unanswered goals before Drew Doughty eventually tied things up with about a minute remaining in regulation.
Following that game, coach Todd McLellan took his club on the road — where they won three straight last week, pushing their winning streak to six straight when playing away from Crypto Arena.
Can they keep it going?
Well, they’ll have plenty of eyes watching this Pacific Division showdown at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, as the game will be shown nationally on TNT.
Every road game that LA plays presents an opportunity for history to be made right now. It is the first time in franchise history the Kings have won their first six road games to start a season and remain the only unbeaten team on the road in the 2023-24 campaign.
Further, only seven teams in NHL history have ever won their first seven road contests. Even so, though, McLellan will just want his squad focused on snatching up another two points, as they continue to chase their first-place division rival.
And although this is technically the fourth game of their road trip, the Kings were actually able to be home in Los Angeles for a few days before heading back out to Vegas for tonight’s matchup. McLellan used that time for a few on-ice practices with his group and also gave a pair of veterans a some extra rest. Both Doughty and goaltender Cam Talbot were given maintenance days on Monday. It was a well-deserved time off for both. Talbot has been used between the pipes quite a bit during this recent hot streak and Doughty (26:07 TOI/GP) leads all skaters in time on ice per game in 2023-24.
He isn’t the only league-leading defensemen to be featured in this game either. Golden Knights blueliner Shea Theodore entered play on Tuesday as the leader in total miles skated this season (45.84 miles) according to NHL EDGE data.
Their overall team stats also provided an interesting infographic for tonight’s matchup:
In other news, Kings captain Anze Kopitar and PL Dubois were seen sporting neck guards at practice over the past few days. Following the tragic accident and passing of Adam Johnson recently, there have been conversations on whether or not NHLers should wear some sort of protection around the neck area to prevent anything like that from ever happening again. Several other leagues — including the OHL, WHL, and USHL — have made moves to make neck guards mandatory moving forward.
Speaking of Kopitar, his goal on Saturday in Philadelphia was his sixth of the year and moved him into a tie with Trevor Moore for the team-lead this season. It also was the 399th goal of his career. When he hits 400 goals, Kopitar will become just the fourth player in Kings franchise history to reach the milestone, joining Luc Robitaille (557), Marcel Dionne (550) and Dave Taylor (432). Additionally, entering tonight, Kopitar needs just two points to tie Robitaille for the second-most points in club history with 1,151.
Defensemen Matt Roy is set to skate in his 300th career NHL game tonight and forward Kevin Fiala will be playing in his 500th career game.
Roy will become just the ninth defenseman from the 2015 NHL Draft to reach that mark. In 299 career games, Roy has tallied 19 goals and 66 assists for 85 points with a plus-49 rating, the third-highest among blueliners from his draft class.
LA Kings Projected Lineup vs. Vegas Golden Knights
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 7pm Pacific Time and will be televised by TNT.
Across the Ice
Vegas suffered their first loss in regulation on Sunday, falling to Anaheim 4-2.
Here’s how the Golden Knights lined up at their morning skate earlier today:
Barbashev – Eichel – Marchessault
Carrier – Amadio – Stone
Cotter – Karlsson – Dorofeyev
Rondbjerg – Howden – Kolesar
McNabb – Theodore
Martinez – Pietrangelo
Hutton – Pachal
VGK have recalled Jonas Rondbjerg, seemingly to play for Stephenson tonight.
Whitecloud is in a normal jersey but not taking part in line rushes for those expected to play tonight.
Here's the projected lineup based on practice rushes…
— SinBin.vegas (@SinBinVegas) November 8, 2023
Chandler Stephenson is out tonight and Friday per Cassidy. Upper body injury sustained in the Colorado game.
— SinBin.vegas (@SinBinVegas) November 8, 2023
On This Day in Kings History
On November 8, 1993, the @LAKings signed free agent enforcer Phil Crowe to a one-year contract. Crowe recorded two assists and 77 penalty minutes in 31 games with the #LAKings.#GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/YMWt2Dubm9
— The Kingstorian (@Kingstorian) November 8, 2023
Game day graphic created by ALo Images
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