Edmonton (7-2-2) vs Los Angeles (6-3-2)
Where: STAPLES Center
Watch: Sportsnet West
Listen: 630 Ched
Projected Line Combinations
Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Smyth - Horcoff - Jones
Paajarvi - Belanger - Gagner
Petrell - Lander - Eager
Don't expect any changes upfront, especially with Linus Omark being sent to down to Oklahoma City. Ales Hemsky has accompanied the team on their six game trek and if all goes well, could be back in the lineup during the latter half of the road trip. This is the first team since the two teams have net since the Ryan Smyth for Colin Fraser deal and Kings GM Dean Lombardi is still fuming. While there has still been no decision on what, if any, penalty the Oilers might receive fro trading the injured centre to Los Angeles. That being said, another storyline to help rekindle the rivalry is never bad thing.
I am very interested to see how Renney using his top line on this trip. Yes, he won't get the matchups he wants on the road but I better not see the kids playing fourteen minutes a night.They need to be playing between 17-19 minutes and learning on the fly. Will they make mistakes? You bet but the Oilers have to live with that if they want this rebuild to move forward. Unless this team is shorthanded a ton, there is absolutely no reason that Taylor Hall is should not be playing around twenty minutes a night. He's no longer a rookie and the kid is a horse who needs to be played like one.
Gilbert - Smid
Potter - Petry
Peckham - Teubert
With Andy Sutton and Cam Barker out, look for Petry to play a much bigger role for the club. He played just under 23 minutes in his return against the Blues and look for those types of numbers for the next bit...especially with him getting increased looks on the power play. Colten Teubert has to be pretty pumped and hopefully, he can keep himself level headed and not take any bad penalties. To play your first NHL game against the team that drafted and traded you has to be pretty special and I expect the kid to have a solid performance.
No idea on who gets the start but I would guess on it being Nikolai Khabibulin. Look for the Kings to go with Jonathan Quick who, with Khabibulin, have been the top two statistical goalies through the first month of the season. I expect the veteran and Devan Dubnyk to split the road trip so whomever starts tonight, look for the other guy to get the nod on Saturday against the Coyotes.
Los Angeles Notes
- Former Oiler Dustin Penner was hurt to start the season but has played in nine games since returning from a knee injury and has all of one assist to show for it. The big man struggled last season in LA after he was acquired from the Oilers and it has been much of the same this season. Not exactly what the Kings were hoping for when the decided to make the move for him at last years deadline.
- Jonathan Quick is been stellar in goal for the Kings this season. He is 6-1-2 with a 1.52 GAA and a .947 SV%, both rank second in the league behind Khabibulin. Most thought that Jonathan Bernier would give Quick a run for the starters job this season but that hasn't happened at all. If anything, the gap between the two has become even larger.
- Anze Kopitar is leading the Kings with 14 points and six goals on the season while former Flyers captain Mike Richards has been solid leading the club with eight assists and making his presence felt playing his usual crash and bang style