“Just when they think they have the answers, I change the questions!” – Roddy Piper
Kings coach Todd McLellan must be a wrestling fan. That’s about as likely as any other explanation at the moment.
Earlier today, it was revealed McLellan will go with veteran Cam Talbot in net vs. the Islanders on Saturday night.
Well that's interesting… https://t.co/UOB1hEmHy3
— The Mayor | Team MM (@mayorNHL) December 9, 2023
Of course, there is nothing wrong with Talbot when looking at the decision in a vacuum. In fact, there a lot of things right about Talbot at the moment, starting with his .933 save percentage and 1.84 goals against average. However, with this being the first of back-to-back games in the Big Apple this weekend, conventional wisdom would have suggested Talbot vs. the Rangers on Sunday, following Pheonix Copley against an Islanders.
McLellan has other ideas, apparently.
Wait, he wouldn’t dare start Talbot in both games would he?
We’ll have to wait and see.
For now, the Kings are looking to continue their historic road winning streak — currently at 11 games to start the year — against an Islanders team sitting 5-3-5 at home.
You never want to take a team lightly, yet the Islanders are no doubt the lesser opponent when compared to the Rangers this season. Talbot recorded a shutout on Thursday night, so perhaps this is just another example of McLellan keeping the same lineup following a win; hockey superstition at its finest.
Maybe McLellan wants to give Talbot the best opportunity at a record of his own.
Talbot is a perfect 9-0-0 on the road this season, tying the NHL mark for the longest season-opening road win streak by a goaltender. He shares that distinction with Chicago’s Glenn Hall (9-0-0 in 1965-66). A win would put Talbot at the top of that list all on his own.
Former Rangers GM Neil Smith added this to the conversation:
Even though #GoKingsGo Cam Talbot has played 1 more game than #Isles Ilya Sorokin, he has faced 121 less shots in 17 games compared to Sorokin’s 16 games. Wow! #GoKingsGo great defensively…1st in #NHL
— Neil Smith (@NYCNeil) December 9, 2023
Tonight also presents an opportunity to continue to making team history. With LA holding the record for most wins to open the season on the road, they can now take aim at the league’s all-time road wins record. A win tonight would tie the Kings with the 2014-15 Minnesota Wild and 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings for the longest road winning streak in NHL history.
Stats Worth Knowing
— Islanders forward Matt Barzal has 10 points in his last four games played. On the season, he’s recorded 27 points in 24 games.
— His teammate, Bo Horvat, is surging too; racking up seven points in his past three games.
— Anze Kopitar and Trevor Moore extended their road points streaks on Thursday. Both have collected points in every Kings road game thus far this season. With their current streaks, Kopitar and Moore are just the second pair of teammates in NHL history to each have an 11-game season-opening road point streak, behind only Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri (12 GP in 1984-85 with Edmonton).
— Drew Doughty has goals in three consecutive games, including game-winning goals in each of the last two contests. If Doughty can score again tonight, he’ll join Jaroslav Modry to become only the second Kings defensemen in club history to score in at least four straight games.
— The Kings penalty kill has been stellar this season, one of the NHL’s best. Specific to the Islanders, though, since the league began tracking penalty kill time in 2009-10, no team has a higher PK% against NYI than the Kings (87.3%).
Kings Projected Lineup vs. Islanders
Byfield – Kopitar – Kempe
Fiala – Danault – Moore
Laferriere – Dubois – Grundstrom
Kaliyev – Lizotte – Lewis
Anderson – Doughty
Gavrikov – Roy
Englund – Spence
Likely scratches: Anderson-Dolan, Moverare
Key Game Info
Puck drop is set for 4:30 pm Pacific Time and will be televised by Bally Sports.
Across the Ice
New York is coming off a 7-3 win over Columbus on Thursday.
Here’s how they’re expected to lineup tonight:
Lee – Horvat – Barzal
Engvall – Nelson – Palmieri
Holmstrom – Pageau – Gauthier
Fasching – Cizikas – Clutterbuck
Romanov – Dobson
Reilly – Mayfield
Bolduc – Bortuzzo
On This Day in Kings History
On December 9, 2010, Kyle Clifford scored his first career NHL goal, and recorded a fighting major against Tim Jackman of the Calgary Flames. Anze Kopitar registered his 11th goal of the season when he scored the game-winner in a 2-1 victory for the @LAKings.#LAKings #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/JnwdLDrosl
— The Kingstorian (@Kingstorian) December 9, 2023
Game day graphic created by ALo Images
Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or interviews from this site please remember to include a link to www.MayorsManor.com