Who is the: Los Angeles Kings (17-12-5) vs. Anaheim Ducks (9-20-3)
what: NHL REGULAR SEASON GAME
when: Tue Dec 20 @ 7:30pm Pacific
where: Crypto.com Arena – Los Angeles, California
How to proceed: Video: Bali Sports West – My voice – I heart radio – Twitter: @employee & @employee
Tonight’s match: After a rare stretch with two days between games, the Kings are back in the game this evening against the Anaheim Ducks, their first speedway showdown of the season.
face to face: Forward Anzi Kopitar led the Kings ahead of the season with seven points (1-6-7) from four games versus Anaheim. Kopitar is three career points shy of tying Mike Modano for the most points in NHL history against Anaheim. Forward Adrian Kempe scored four goals from four matches he played last year, while Alex Yavalo scored three.
Kings Vitals: The Kings hit the ice in an optional morning skating game today, after yesterday’s full team practice.
Goaltender Pheonix Copley was the first off the ice this morning, suggesting he’d be the night’s highly anticipated starter against Anaheim. Copley has yet to face Anaheim in his NHL career, and is on course to make his fourth straight start. On the season, Copley is 4-1-0, with a . 904 save percentage and a 2.71 goals against average.
Given the optional skid, the Kings didn’t take full lunges this morning at the Toyota Sports Performance Center. For reference, here’s how the team looked like it lined up yesterday –
Fiala – Kopitar – Kempe
Buffalo – Danault – Moore
Arvidsson – Lezot – Kaliev
Ground current – Lemieux
Anderson – Dotty
This lineup above is the same as the Kings’ stand against San Jose on Saturday night. Should the team choose to make a change, striker Karl Grundstrom and defender Shaun Walker are two options to re-check in. Striker Brendan Lemieux is back in a white shirt today, which is a good sign, but he remains on injured reserve as of this writing. The three were up late after skiing this morning.
lively ducks: Anaheim recently wrapped up a four-game trip to Canada with wins over Montreal and Edmonton and is now back in California for its first 11 in-state games. After tonight’s game, the Ducks will play ten straight home games through January 13th.
Goalkeeper Lucas Dostal has started his team’s last two games, with John Gibson absent, and is expected to get the nod again tonight against the Kings. Dostal has yet to face Los Angeles in his NHL career. On the season, Dostal is 2-1-0, with a . 898 save percentage and a 3.73 goals against average.
Per Anaheim team account, here’s how the visitors lined up last time –
Here’s who we’re traveling with today. pic.twitter.com/OiqKrZdwHM
– Anaheim Ducks December 17, 2022
Anaheim went 11-7 on Saturday but assigned defenseman Colton White to the AHL on an adaptive loan yesterday, so they’ll be in line for at least one lineup change. Over the past four seasons, only one NHL player has scored more goals against the Kings than Cam Fowler’s four. Fowler has more career points against the Kings than any other opponent.
Throw the third line
“This third line needs to be solidified, that’s what needs to be done, whether we find out who the center of the third line is, whether we’re going to get fixed wings. We feel that one, two and four will probably change the way they have to be, but in A lot of times in the playoffs and down the stretch, you win based on what the third line can do, and that’s where you get the mismatch. It has to be cemented at some point.”
This was Todd McClellan this morning on his third line, which has been subject to a lot of personnel traffic, different pieces in different places and several trials. The season started with Quinton Byfield between Alex Ivalo and Gabi Vilardi, until Ivalo was injured during Game 4 in Detroit. Since then, we’ve seen 11 different players on that line at one point or another, including six of the team’s nine best forwards.
On Saturday against San Jose, the combination was Viktor Arvidsson on the left, with Blake Lizotte in the middle and Arthur Kaliyev on the right. Arvidsson was returning from two games out of the lineup, while Lizotte and Kaliyev were moved from other lines, one up and one down. It was a combination of three players who had never played together before, but she offers an interesting mix of skill combinations.
“We’re trying to figure it out,” McClellan added. “Arthur is a big body that can shoot, Arvi and Lizzo are puck hounds, and they have the ability to flip pucks and keep playing with speed and tenacity. That’s our train of thought there, so they need some time to get to know each other, but hopefully this leads to something.” What “.
Lizotte and Kaliev had been regular linemates for a season, usually in the fourth row, but Arvidsson was never the third member of that unit. Other than maybe a game or turnaround here or there, I can’t remember Arvidsson really playing with any of the players during his time here with the Kings, but it’s not hard to see how that could work out.
Arvidsson said this morning he’s not changing his style of playing on a different line, though he admitted playing with his new teammates is a bit different after seeing plenty of time with Phil Danault and Trevor Moore over the course of 2022. When you play with one line for an extended stretch, you learn the tendencies of your mates As if it belonged to you. It’s going to take a while, McClellan hinted, to hopefully we’ll find that here, too.
“I don’t change my game at any time, I just try to play it and do the best I can with my abilities,” Arvidsson added. “Of course they are different players, different attributes and I played the first game with them in the last game, I was just trying to play and see what they do. A bit different, but it will take some time to find some chemistry.”
We’ve heard it before from Todd McLellan, but defender Alex Edler has proven to be a reliable defensive partner for many of the young players coming into the squad. We saw it earlier this year with Brandt Clark, we saw it with Sean Dorsey and we saw it most recently with Jordan Spence, who partnered with Adler in the win over San Jose on Saturday, Spence’s first season.
Adler saw a smart player on his right and someone who wasn’t afraid to get into fights and was efficient.
“I think we saw how he played last year, he’s a smart player,” Adler said this morning. “He’s not big, but he still picks up fights and wins them. He’s proven he’s a really good defenseman here.”
Something Spence seems to have been able to do to deliver plays effectively, even without the flash that others bring, while also not sacrificing a ton otherwise. It’s usually an area that highly skilled offensive defensemen can run into, but Spence seems to have done a decent job of making it happen.
“I don’t think you can play any other way,” Adler added. “You’re always trying to create offense, whether it’s for yourself or your teammates, but you can’t be, you can’t just give things up to do that.”
Spence looks set to make his comeback tonight against Anaheim, reserving his spot for the second straight game. His metrics were solid, exceeding 50 percent in all categories of puck possession, including heavily on the right side of high-risk chances. Spence also seems to have executed simple performances well and effectively, and was seldom marked by failures of performance.
McClellan was pleased with his young defensive play.
“I thought he was fine,” he said of Spence, “he did exactly what he needed to do.” “He moved pucks around, released them when he had the chance, and defended really well. As Trent Yawney said, he wasn’t on the crime scene very often defensively. He played a good game.”
Many of the same things we heard about Spence when he was called up a season ago. Here’s hoping it continues.
The records the Kings and Ducks bring to tonight’s game are readily available and are even posted above. The Kings have eight more wins and 18 more points in tonight’s game, but in a cross-town game like this, the standings often go out the window.
The Kings do not change their preparations at all depending on where the team is in the standings, or whether or not the match is a rivalry game. It is the status quo in that region and should be in a game that offers a test.
“The same preparations for our staff and it should be the same preparations for the players,” Todd McClellan said this morning. “There’s no need to look at the rank and increase or decrease your preparation. If you have a routine, the rank shouldn’t affect it and they’re our rivals, it won’t be an easy match. If anyone expects that, shame on them, because he’ll show up tonight.”
This isn’t to say it’s a “ditch the plan and play” kind of game, though, riding emotions to a conclusion. The Kings know that each team has positive and negative areas and each team will look to exploit the lesser areas on the other side. It begins with a thorough and independent exploration of the possible feelings that might exist.
McClellan added, “Pre-scouting is important – teams have tendencies, teams change over time, and there are strengths and weaknesses happening to both teams at the moment that we need to capitalize on.” “I think we have to give our players this information to try and help them succeed.”
Now, with the information in hand, it’s time to take to the ice, as the Kings look to make it three straight games the right way.
Kings and Ducks, tonight at 7:30pm Crypto.com Arena! Only two games left at home here before the holiday break. We’ll see there!