The Kings meet the Oilers for the final time after beating them last friday 4-1. With a win tonight, the Kings will gain a 2 point lead in the Pacific and inch closer to a Division championship for the first time in 21 years. After all our mid-season disappointment, I keep pinching myself on how this team has pulled together. But let’s not get overly confident. A loss will not be the end of us, but it will definitely take a win in one of our last two games vs San Jose to secure a playoff spot. So even though we are giddy with gladness, delirious with delight and happy with hope; in reality we need our team to come out fast and hard.
It was a hard road trip for sure but we had a chance to sleep last night and no team skate yesterday for added rest. Edmonton played the Ducks last night winning 2-1 so they are tired and coming off a win. Interesting is the Oilers total shots on goal. Last friday vs us, they had 15 SOG. Last night against Anaheim they only registered 14. The Kings need to really get a jump on Edmonton and not let up. If the Kings shoot and hit often, we have these two points in the bag.
Carter is still out with an injured ankle. He went to the doctor’s this morning and there is no break but a very deep bruise. He will not play tonight but may be back in time for Thursday vs the Sharks. If it’s that bad, I expect to not see him until round 1 of the playoffs. Richardson came in for Carter and his first game back was lousy but he sure picked it up on the last one vs the Wild with two goals. Hopefully he wants to solidify his place in the lineup for the playoffs and will give the same tonight.
The Oilers lost their best young player, Taylor Hall, to injuries last month and their top defense pair is also out due to injuries they sustained from us last Friday. I think they are playing with 4 defensemen. It’s worth it to us to give it all with the points so close in the standings. As our coach just stated, “Five out of six (points) in less than four days. I think if you’d have said that any other time other than right now, you’d say it was great” . That’s crazy!
A Few Notes
- Kopitar has five goals and nine assists in his last 10 games.
- Brown has two goals and three assists in his last three games.
- Kings have a 90.2 % chance of making the playoffs.
- Quick is tied with St. Louis’ goalie Brian Elliott for most shut-outs in the league.
- Kings are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.
Quick is in goal tonight and Westgarth and Drewiski are healthy scratches. I’ll leave the linup the same as last game. No changes.
# 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!