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Preview 11/16 – Petersen Off First + Mental Readiness, Kempe Off The Schneid, McHugh Talks LAK

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Who is the: Los Angeles Kings (10-7-1) @ Edmonton Oilers (9-7-0)
what: NHL REGULAR SEASON GAME
when: Wed, Nov 16 @ 7:00pm Pacific
where: Rogers Place – Edmonton, Op
How to proceed: Video: TNT – My voice – i heart radio – Twitter: @employee & @employee

Tonight’s match: The Kings continue their four-game road trip this evening in Edmonton, with the first rematch of last season’s playoff series.

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face to face: Defenseman Drew Doughty led last season with four points (1-3-4) from two games played against the Oilers last season. Forward Trevor Moore also scored four points (2-2-4) from four games, while forward Adrian Kempe scored twice against Edmonton a season ago.

Kings Vitals: The Kings had full team practice yesterday, which resulted in an optional morning skate and a good attendance here in Edmonton today.

Goaltender Cal Petersen was first off the ice this morning in Edmonton, hinting at the idea that he’ll be starting between the tubes at Rogers Place this evening. All-time, Petersen posted a 1-2-0 record with a 0.912 save percentage and a 2.73 goals against average against the Oilers.

Given this morning’s alignment and how the Kings set up during yesterday’s practice, it doesn’t look as if the Kings will make any changes to their lineup this evening. Here’s how the Kings lined up on Monday –

Kempe – Copitar – Vilardi
Moore-Danault-Arvidson
Viala – Brass – Grundstrom
Anderson Dolan-Lizotte-Kaliyev

Anderson – Dotty
Dorzy Roy
Noble Walker

fast
Petersen

The Kings made two lineup changes heading into Calgary, with a change in goal, as well as forward Garrett Anderson Dolan checking out an injured Brendan Lemieux. Anderson-Dolan looks poised to continue in the lineup this evening, while forwards Lias Andersson and Jacob Moverare were up late after morning skis today for extra work.

vital oils: Edmonton has been out of action since Saturday, when it defeated the Florida Panthers 4-2 on the East Coast.

Goaltender Stuart Skinner is expected to start against the Kings this evening. Never faced the Kings in his NHL career, Skinner achieved a 3-3-0 record with a . 932 save percentage and a 2.53 goals against average on the season. Skinner is 7-6-5 his entire minor league career against the AHL’s Ontario Reign, with Edmonton’s Bakersfield Condors.

Here’s how the Oilers aligned during yesterday’s practice, and it’s a possible indicator of tonight’s lineup –

Edmonton goes into tonight’s game with two of the NHL’s leading scorers in Connor McDavid (32 points) and Leon Draisaitl (28 points). Former Kings goalkeeper Jack Campbell is not expected to start tonight against his former club but will serve as a backup.

Notes –
mental readiness
When reflecting on the Calgary game over the past two days, Kings head coach Todd McLellan has spoken — many times — about mental preparation versus physical preparation. On Monday, the Kings jumped a bit and seemed physically ready to go, but it was the mental side of the game that felt let the team down more than anything else.

Many goals against the first half played into this idea, as the Kings conceded four times in the first 20 minutes, despite an energetic and energetic start to the game. Maybe it’s a little hard to see coming when it’s different, but the Kings weren’t in this section to start the game.

“Usually the physical side is to be expected, you’re somewhere in your schedule when you feel like the energy level might be a little lower,” McClellan said this morning. “You’re already somewhat planning for it, using the players, using four lines a bit more, rotating the players faster, making sure the shift length, and you take care of it a little bit more. The mental part of the game is a bit unpredictable, but it comes with burnout.” Also, so there might be signs of that.”

McClellan pointed to the Detroit game as a great example of when things can go the other way. The Kings scored the second fastest goal in franchise history that day, as Alex Adler fed Rasmus Koppari and Karl Grundstrom two goals to one, finishing with the latter.

It’s about more than an opening showdown, of course, but can quickly see preparation and direct play.

“In contrast to the two, the coverage we got against Detroit, we scored a goal [nine seconds] Because we did some of the things we wanted to do,” he explained. “Then there are other games, and I’m not saying Calgary, but there are other games where we might miss coverage right away and that’s a signal to the coach or to your teammates that we might not be here. If you don’t know what you’re doing for three or four seconds, you wonder sometimes, but our group was really good at it.”

McClellan added that it’s not just about the mental side when it comes to turning in Monday’s game in Calgary and that the team has worked on several different areas of the game to improve tonight versus the Oilers. It’s also one performance that followed five that the Kings were happy with, so it didn’t become a trend.

This makes it a little easier to believe in the turnaround and McClellan feels the Kings have done well this season. Winger Adrian Kempe agrees.

“I think once it starts to happen more and more, that’s when you start to get more anxious and really need to fix some things,” Quimby said. “I feel like coming in tonight, we’re playing with a team that likes to score and it’s going to be a good challenge for us to get the puck out of our net and play the way we can. We played them 11 times last year, so we kind of know what we’re up against tonight and I think it’s going to be a good challenge. I think Everyone here in our room really wants to beat them, so it’s going to be fun.”

The juice is squeezed
Speaking of Kempe, it was great to see him come off Schneide in Calgary on Monday.

Kempe was off seven games when it came to goals and the team leader in that division scored a goal that nearly paved the way for a massive comeback to earn a point, although the Kings were unable to get another point in the dying seconds. Although he described his goal as a bit “lucky”, achieving this goal was a confidence-building for him.

“I think we’ve played well and had some chances over the last two games and it was one last game that was a little bit lucky, but I think the chances I’ve had recently do that a little bit.”

When a player doesn’t score, in my opinion, the first place to look is the chances he makes.

If you go and look at opportunities and they’re not there at all, or if they’re much lower than they used to be, that’s a worrying sign. If the opportunities exist, especially for a player who – in the case of Kempe – scored 35 goals last season, that’s a fairly reassuring sign that goals could follow.

Looking at Kempe’s 5-on-5 metrics, his 5-on-5 singles figures were actually higher when it came to chances during the drought than in the previous ten matches, in which he scored six goals in total. Kempe’s scoring chances were nearly identical, increasing from 2.3 to 2.4 per game, while his high-risk chances increased from 0.5 to 0.9 on a per game basis. His total attempts have also gone up dramatically, from 3.2 to 5.0. Where his numbers fell is in the power play, which he plays a part in, but you can’t pin everything on Kempe either. It’s a team effort that will hopefully head higher with some new implementations, but members of Kempe’s unit scored five PPGs in their first 10 games, versus just one in the next seven.

From his point of view, in general, he felt the opportunities were there and that could be a good sign of things to come.

“I think as long as you get the chance, it’s a good thing, and I know I can put the puck in the net,” Kempe said. “Sometimes you have matches where it just doesn’t go right, I think one hit the bar three times, so I mean, it’s just one of those moments. I think the key for me is to stay positive and like I said, as long as I get the chances “I feel like I’m going to put it somewhere at some point. I bounced a little bit of luck in the last game, but it was good for my confidence and my game as well.”

From a coaching perspective, McClellan believes Kempe handles his calmer attacking spells better than he did as a younger player, and other parts of his game allow him to contribute even when he’s not scoring. It’s an area where it has grown, both in terms of shortening those dry spells and contributing in other ways.

“Check, kill penalties, pace, playmaking, puck retrieval, block shots, I can keep doing a lot of those things,” McClellan added. “Yes, we’d like to see him score consistently, but his spread of being a young player and not scoring was much greater than he is now, being a more mature player. He handles dry spells better and can use those other assets to be a good player for us when he’s not scoring.”

TNT, I’m Dynamite
Finally, Insiders and TNT Studio Host Liam McHugh join Tradin’ Jabs ahead of tonight’s game on TNT. McHugh talks about working with Wayne Gretzky, his appreciation for the importance that Jonathan Quick, Anzi Kopitar, and Drew Doughty have in the organization, as well as Kevin Fiala’s shy ceiling.

An extended clip is included below, with a link to the full audio file. A good preview as calling McHugh and the TNT crew to game tonight from Edmonton.

I should be used to these 8pm local starts from last season’s playoffs, but alas, here we are waiting until 8pm and I’m pissed off. Oh, okay. Kings and Oilers, coming your next way!

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