The Carolina Hurricanes (5-1-0, 10pts) start a three-game swing through California tonight against the Los Angeles Kings (2-3-0, 4pts).
The Canes are coming off their first loss of the season, a 3-2 defeat by the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. Dougie Hamilton (4) and Erik Haula (5) provided the two goals for the Canes.
The change of scenery may come at just the right time for some of the Canes. While Haula and Hamilton have combined for 9 of the Canes’ first 22 goals this year, Nino Niederreiter and Brock McGinn are absent from the list of goal-scorers. Meanwhile, Sebastian Aho has but a single empty-net tally to his credit.
Partially the result of some poor puck-luck and partly due to some outstanding goaltending, Nino and Aho have had excellent chances go begging early this year. An open game - along with more time on the powerplay - might get them rolling.
Rod Brind’Amour’s lines look to be mostly the same as we’ve seen, although Trevor van Riemsdyk may play in his first game of the season. Yet, if Nino/Aho/Turbo fail to produce, it’s possible the coach switches things up at some point tonight or during this road trip. One certain change is that Brian Gibbons will draw into tonight’s lineup on the fourth line, replacing Julien Gauthier. Gibbons is an NHL vet who has scored 67 points (25g, 42a) in 189 NHL games with five different clubs.
Nino Niederreiter - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Andrei Svechnikov - Jordan Staal - Brock McGinn
Ryan Dzingel - Erik Haula - Martin Necas
Warren Foegele - Lucas Wallmark - Brian Gibbons
Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Joel Edmundson - Brett Pesce
Jake Gardiner - Haydn Fleury
Injuries and Scratches: Trevor van Riemsdyk (shoulder), Jordan Martinook (core muscle)
The start of the Los Angeles Kings’ season has been...well let’s call it exciting.
Off the ice, or more precisely, above the ice, the team acquiesced to fan complaints about a banner in the rafters. Why were some fans upset about a banner? Well, it celebrates Taylor Swift’s run of 16 straight sold-out concerts at Staples Center back in 2015. Apparently, some fans think the banner cursed.
On the ice, and of more concern to the coaching staff, has to be the combined goals scored in their five games thus far: 11, 7, 10, 11, 7. That’s good for an average of slightly over 9. The NHL average is somewhere between 5.5 and 6. Former Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick currently holds a nasty .793 save percentage and a 6.43 GAA. It should come as no surprise that Jack Campbell will get the start tonight, given that.
The Kings will be looking to improve on a miserable defensive start to the year. They currently rank 29th out of 31 teams in terms of goals conceded (26), while their penalty kill has gone 9 of 16 for an eye-popping kill percentage of 56.25%.
Their lineup should look like this:
Alex Iafallo - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown
Jeff Carter - Blake Lizotte - Tyler Toffoli
Kyle Clifford - Adrian Kempe - Austin Wagner
Ilya Kovalchuk - Mike Amadio - Trevor Lewis
Ben Hutton - Drew Doughty
Alec Martinez - Sean Walker
Joakim Ryan - Matt Roy
Injuries and Scratches: Derek Forbort (lower-body)