For the LA Kings, nothing is more critical than their next two games. Things begin with a Sunday maitinee in St. Louis, followed by a Wednesday matchup with the Predators in Nashville, then a 10-day break, where GM Rob Blake can figure out what to do next.
There are certainly plenty of questions surrounding the team presently. One thing is for certain, though, the cushion they had in the standings early this season is gone. Today’s tilt with the Blues has coach Todd McLellan and his squad fighting for their playoff lives — and it’s a spot nobody would have predicted just 30 days ago.
These next two contests are pivotal for LA as the All-Star break is right around the corner. Coming off a blowout defeat in Colorado on Friday night, the Kings will be looking to show their GM some proof of life, if you will. Both games are against teams directly below LA in the standings, which should at least bring some intensity and focus to a Kings team that has admittedly not been on he same page of late.
Quinton Byfield, after missing the Colorado game due to illness, was back at practice yesterday. Thus, he’s projected to make his return today.
Still, lineup changes could be made, as forward Alex Turcotte has been recalled to the big club. If McLellan were to pencil him in, Turcotte would most likely fit on the fourth line, a group that has really struggled to produce lately regardless of their configuration. That would slide Trevor Lewis over to wing and then the question becomes, will Arthur Kaliyev and Sammy Fagemo both sit out or will one of them perhaps find their way in over Carl Grundstrom or Jaret Anderson-Dolan?
Defenseman Jordan Spence has sat two consecutive games, so he is an option to draw back in over Brandt Clarke.
Sometimes it’s a bit unreasonable to claim regular season games in January as ‘must-win’ affairs. However, these next two are all that and more.
In order to get those victories, David Rittich seems like the likely goaltender to get the start today. He has simply played much better than his counterpart Cam Talbot in recent weeks. It’s been a tough stretch for the latter, coming at a pretty inconvenient time.
Alex Turcotte will wear No. 38 during pregame warmups in STL tmrw, his 2nd NHL number.
Debuted in & has played all 12 of his NHL games w/ No. 39. Switch was necessitated by goalie Cam Talbot joining Kings this season.
— The Mayor | Team MM (@mayorNHL) January 28, 2024
— LA has earned points in nine of their last 10 games against the Blues (7-2-1), including their last five consecutive matchups.
— Phillip Danault will be skating in his 600th career NHL game this afternoon.
— Kevin Fiala is riding a seven-game point streak (4G, 3A) when facing the Blues in their home arena.
— In his career, Anze Kopitar has put up 62 points (20G, 42A) vs. the Blues, second-most among active NHL skaters. Kopitar, Patrick Kane (27), Jamie Benn (22) are the only active skaters with 20 or more goals against the Blues.
Kings Projected Lineup vs. Blues
Byfield – Kopitar – Kempe
Fiala – Danault – Moore
JAD – Dubois – Laferriere
Grundstrom – Turcotte – Lewis
Anderson – Doughty
Gavrikov – Roy
Englund – Clarke
Likely scratches: Fagemo, Kaliyev, Spence
Injured: Arvidsson (LTIR), Copley (LTIR)
Key Game Info
Puck drop is set for 11:00 am Pacific Time and will be televised by Bally Sports.
Also be sure to check out several online games during intermission for even more fun.
Across the Ice
St. Louis is coming off a 4-3 Victory against Seattle on Friday
Here’s how they lined up for that one:
Pavel Buchnevich – Robert Thomas – Jordan Kyrou
Brandon Saad – Brayden Schenn – Jake Neighbours
Nathan Walker – Kevin Hayes – Alexey Toropchenko
Nikita Alexandrov – Oskar Sundqvist – Sammy Blais
Nick Leddy – Colton Parayko
Torey Krug – Matthew Kessel
Marco Scandella – Scott Perunovich
In their last 10 games, the Blues are 6-3-1. As the home team, they’re 14-8-1 this season.
On This Day in Kings History
On January 28, 1992, Dave Taylor became the first player in franchise history to appear in 1,000 games with the @LAKings. Taylor, who was in his 15th season with the #LAKings, achieved the milestone at the Great Western Forum against the St. Louis Blues.#GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/68e0MYbKKQ
— The Kingstorian (@Kingstorian) January 28, 2024
Game day graphic created by ALoImages
Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or interviews from this site please remember to include a link to www.MayorsManor.com