It's 25 games in and the Los Angeles Kings (12-9-3) still struggle to consistently play a full 60 minutes. Facing the Seattle Kraken (13-5-3) for the third time, they're still searching for their first win against the Kraken.
Puck drops at 7:30.
The Kings can't repeat their slow start from Sunday against the Kraken. The Kraken have allowed the fifth-fewest goals against in the league so falling behind early will be a death sentence. A surprise to many, the Kraken sits second in the Pacific division with the joint fewest games played.
Unlike the Kings, the Kraken play with an identity that has served them well in their sophomore season. They forecheck hard, create of the cycle and don't give up many chances the other way. Similar to how the Kings want to play, the Kraken actually execute on these goals.
They've also been aided by a resurgence from former Kings goalie Martin Jones. After four unremarkable seasons split between San Jose and Philly, Jones is posting starting goalie numbers again. His .903 save percentage doesn't jump out at you, but combined with 5.1 goals saved above expected, he's been a solid number one for Seattle.
The one thing LA will want to carry over from Sunday is their power play. Phil Danault's unit was deadly, scoring twice on two opportunities thanks to Arthur Kaliyev. They were hunting pucks well, moving the puck around quickly and taking advantage of Kaliyev's shot.
"Teams that have that element of a shot from there, that can score from distance or just powered by goaltender, you have to respect it and it can open up space for other players," said Todd McLellan of Kalliyev on the power play. "If you don’t have it, they can cheat. They don’t have to worry so much about that side. I think you only have to look at number eight in Washington to see how that works. I’m not saying that Arthur is Ovechkin by no means, maybe later on his career he’ll get there, but they both have that element of a shot from that spot. Obviously different hands, but you have to respect it and opens up ice for others."
Jonathan Quick is expected to start again after two straight strong performances. The Kings have been searching for stability in net all season and might have it with Quick.
After missing Sunday's game Gabe Vilardi "should be good to go," according to McLellan. But the Kings made a roster move just in case. Samuel Fagemo was recalled from the Ontario Reign, with Lias Andersson going the other way. If Vilardi can't go tonight, it will be Fagemo in his spot. Jordan Spence was also recalled from the Reign, but there's no indication of him starting right now.
Fagemo is a more comparable player to Vilardi than Andersson. Never afraid to shoot the puck, Fagemo brings another shot threat into the lineup the Kings are missing without Vilardi. He's posted six goals and eight points in 15 games for the Reign this season.
Expected LA Kings Lines:
Kevin Fiala-Anze Kopitar-Adrian Kempe
Trevor Moore-Phil Danault-Viktor Arvidsson
Carl Grundstrom-Blake Lizotte-Gabe Vilardi
Jaret Anderson-Dolan-Rasmus Kupari-Arthur Kaliyev
Mikey Anderson-Drew Doughty
Sean Durzi-Matt Roy
Alex Edler-Sean Walker
Expected Seattle Kraken Lines Per Emerald City Hockey:
Jaden Schwartz-Alexander Wennberg-Andre Burakovsky
Jared McCann-Matty Beniers-Jordan Eberle
Brandon Tanev-Yanni Gourde-Oliver Bjorkstrand
Daniel Sprong-Ryan Donato-Karson Kuhlman
Vince Dunn-Adam Larsson
Jamie Oleksiak-Justin Schultz
Carson Soucy-Will Borgen
Los Angeles Kings Power Play: 19-85, 22.35%, 15th in NHL
Los Angeles Kings Penalty Kill: 20-79, 74.68%, 23rd in NHL
Seattle Kraken Power Play: 16-69, 23.19%, 11th in NHL
Seattle Kraken Penalty Kill: 20-66, 69.70%, 29th in NHL
Los Angeles Kings Pre-Game Notes:
- When Gabriel Vilardi is on the ice during five-on-five play, the Kings have outshot their opponent 153-108, accounting for 58.62% of shots during his TOI.
- Only San Jose’s Erik Karlsson (527:44) has logged more ice time at even-strength than Drew Doughty (502:15) and Mikey Anderson (461:00) in the league.
- Anze Kopitar (1,084) is four points from tying Theo Fleury (1,088) for the 66th-most points in league history.
- Only Troy Terry (6), Matthew Tkachuk (5) and Jonathan Marchessault (5) have scored more goals against the Kraken than Phillip Danault (4) since joining the league.
- The Kings have scored 1,073 goals against the Pacific Division at home all-time. Only San Jose (1,099) and Anaheim (1,085) have scored more.
How to Watch:
TV: Bally Sports West, ESPN+; Radio: iHeartRadio