The Kings are competing to keep a playoff spot and the Edmonton Oilers are out. As of right now (noon pst) the Kings are in 8th place and Edmonton is in 14th in the western conference. We should be able to beat them easily right? Wrong. For some incredibly stupid reason, the Kings do not play well against Edmonton. We are 0-2 so far this series and we play again in our house Monday for the final game this season. Our 88 points is only one point out of first place in the pacific. Tight doesn’t begin to describe the fight for a playoff spot. Beating Calgary on Wednesday was exactly what we needed to get our confidence back up. Another great game and hopefully a great jump in the standings.
Edmonton has been playing well lately and they have nothing to lose. I like to internet scan and read about other teams when they play against us and came upon a great Edmonton blog, Oilernation.com. They have a funny article today you can read here about how even though they have no hopes to make the playoffs, just having the team there and watching them is better than nothing. All other Oiler blogs and info is talking about re-signing Smyth, Hall hurt until next season and draft picks. So what does this tell us? It tells us that Edmonton is not at the rink. The players are thinking about contracts and not the game ahead of them. Think they will come out strong? Nah, I bet they don’t. Besides the hurt players out, they had to bring up an AHL’er today to help on the game. I’d say they are done.
But we are most definitely not done! We have 5 games left and a 81.1% chance of making the playoffs. If we beat the Oilers tonight we jump around another 12% points and if we lose we can drop by around 10%. That is how the rest of the season is going to be for us. Insane.
We do have a few updates to make. Carter hurt his ankle Wednesday during the game and is in a boot. He will not play tonight or tomorrow against Minnesota. The reports are just a tweek or twist but he will visit the doctors when they get back to L.A. Because Carter is out, Richardson is in. I’m so glad to hear that! If you have read here before, you know I love Brad Richardson. I really feel he should have a permanent spot in the roster instead of sitting out. He is fast, tough and versatile. No, he does not score a lot of goals but neither are the players he would be replacing. At least rotate him in and out. Keep him sharp and in shape for when we need him – like now.
A Few Notes:
- Jonathan Quick made 19 saves for his ninth shutout of the season, which set a new Kings single-season record (Congrats Quick!)
- The Kings recorded their 10th shutout of the season, which tied a team record set in 2000-01.
- The Kings are 19-2-2 when leading after the first period and 27-0-3 when leading after the second period.
- Dustin Brown scored his 20th goal and has reached the 20-goal mark in five consecutive seasons.
- Kopitar has four goals and five assists in his last eight games, and seven goals and nine assists in his last 15 games.
I’m not sure about the linup tonight except that Quick is in. The practice lines had Richardson on the first line and Williams dropped to the second replacing Carter. So I’ll put the linup like that but Sutter may change it before game time. At practice I guess Brown was put on the right wing, but I’m keeping him on the left in hopes that Sutter does too. We know how much better he is as a LW, hopefully Sutter will remember before the game starts too. Look for Kopitar to come out fast for the win.
# 23 Brown– # 11 Kopitar – #15 Richardson
# 74 King– # 10 Richards – # 14 Williams
# 25 Penner – # 28 Stoll – # 22 Lewis
# 13 Clifford– # 24 Fraser – # 71 Nolan
# 7 Scuderi – # 8 Doughty
# 33 Mitchell – # 26 Voynov
# 27 Martinez –# 22 Greene
# 32 Quick
# 45 Bernier
#28 Ryan Jones – #93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – #14 Jordan Eberle
#56 Teemu Hartikainen - #89 Sam Gagner - #83 Ales Hemsky
#94 Ryan Smyth – #10 Shawn Horcoff- #37 Lennart Petrell
#16 Darcy Hordichuk - #20 Eric Belanger – #55 Ben Eager
#5 Ladislav Smid - #58 Jeff Petry
#6 Ryan Whitney – #15 Nick Schultz
#25 Andy Sutton – #44 Corey Potter
#40 Devan Dubnyk
#35 Nikolai Khabibulin
Go Kings Go!