Puck Drop: 4 PM (1 PM PDT) | Staples Center
TV: SN, MSG-B, EPSN+
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Kings Blog: Jewels From The Crown
Know Your Opponent
Los Angeles Kings
Last Game: vs Canadiens (5-2 Win)
Division Ranking: Last in the Pacific Division
PP: 25% (Tied 9th)
PK: 66.7% (29th)
What to Watch
1. Donnie Shakes It Up After a Dub-Ya
A rare occurrence, a head coach recognizes their team has inched out some wins not by being the better team, but by the good ‘ol puck luck. Here’s what Donnie said to the media yesterday:
The easy break down, Anders Bjork seems to be out of the doghouse and instead replaces Jeff Skinner on the top line. Bjork being Donnie’s #1 PK forward, the move here looks to help Dylan Cozens with the defensive side, let alone more speed than Jeff brings in transition. While losing offense from Jeff to Anders, the top line hasn’t been scoring that much, so hard to say we could miss anything there.
Next two moves are Skinner taking Drake Caggiula’s spot on the line with Kyle Okposo and Zemgus Girgensons, one where I see great hope for Jeff to get that line back to finishing. Okposo is averaging as much 5v5 time as Cozens is this season, so I don’t think we should view this as a demotion under Donnie’s tutelage.
And with Arttu’s solid play of late, he gets two linemates in Drake Caggiula and big man Brett Murray, making his 2021 NHL Debut. We’ll see what Brett has to offer in helping this line bury more chances and keep them out of our net.
2. The Youth Has Arrived In Los Angeles
This ain’t your Kings team of past. Yeah, Kopitar is still killing it with Dustin Brown nearby and if Doughty wasn’t hurt, he’d be out there logging a heap of minutes, too. As we all had hoped the Kings were in the Jack Eichel trade talks, notable prospects Rasmus Kupari, Gabe Vilardi and Arthur Kaliyev are all in the lineup and on the ice tonight. Good watch for fans of prospect development.
3. The Rested versus the Unrested
Sabres are getting a break in the schedule on this road trip. The Kings played yesterday against the Habs while the Sabres have been enjoying the sun with Ryan Miller as VIP Guest.
Another factor to watch is how teams play on back to backs. If you haven’t noticed, NHL teams no longer play their starting goalies on back to back and this might be the way the NHL tries to balance these long distance road trips, home team isn’t rested and road guys are. Or this is all random and I’m making this up. But, the Sabres will likely know they can get the jump early on the not-so-rested Kings and their beat up defense and try and keep Cal Petersen’s numbers real pedestrian this season (898 SV% !).
Mike Kelly over at NHL Network & Sportlogiq says the Kings now lead the league in rush attempts per game. Looks like we’re going to have some fun in the neutral zone this afternoon. Go Sabres.
The Kings entered today's game against the Canadiens averaging the 6th most rush chances per game with MTL allowing the 2nd most.— Mike Kelly (@MikeKellyNHL) October 30, 2021
Well, LA now averages more than anyone because they had 15 in their 5-2 win. That's the most a team has had in a game all season. Numbers don't lie.. pic.twitter.com/yhbjuEzM4X
Anders Bjork - Dylan Cozens - Vinnie Hinostroza
Rasmus Asplund – Tage Thompson – Victor Olofsson
Brett Murray - Arttu Ruotsalainen – Drake Caggiula
Jeff Skinner – Zemgus Girgensons – Kyle Okposo
Rasmus Dahlin - Will Butcher
Jacob Bryson - Colin Miller
Robert Hagg - Mark Pysyk
Scratches: Christian Wolanin
Starting Goalie: Dustin Tokarski
Los Angeles Kings
Viktor Arvidsson - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown
Alex Iafallo - Phillip Danault - Adrian Kempe
Trevor Moore - Blake Lizotte - Arthur Kaliyev
Carl Grundstrom - Rasmus Kupari - Gabriel Vilardi
Tobias Bjornfot - Matt Roy
Olli Maatta - Michael Anderson
Alexander Edler - AustinStrand
Starting Goalie: Cal Petersen