The Los Angeles Kings (16-12-5) return home Saturday after their six-game road trip to face-off against the San Jose Sharks (10-16-5). The Kings will be hoping to build off their shootout victory in Boston and register back-to-back wins for the first time in over a month.
Todd McLellan made a few changes to the lineup for this game. Moving Adrian Kempe back to the top-line. Keeping the Trevor Moore-Phil Danault-Alex Iafallo line together. While moving Arthur Kaliyev to the third line and Gabe Vilardi to the fourth.
The biggest change is on defense. Where it appears Jordan Spence will earn his first game of the season. Replacing Sean Walker next to Alex Edler.
Spence is having a fantastic season with the Ontario Reign, posting 21 points in 22 games so far. And looked good in his stint with the Kings last season. He's another mobile, puck-mover for the Kings blue line.
"His strengths are puck movement and vision," said McLellan of Spence. "He executes well, he's got some offensive instincts. What did he need to work on (in Ontario)? Well, size and strength. He's not going to grow much more but he can get stronger and he's done that over the summer. Some of that is evident in his ability to defend in and around the net at the American League level, that's improved. That's an area we asked him to take care of and he's done that."
"When I was with the Reign I wanted to work on all sides of the game," said Spence. "Especially defensively, I think just playing every game and getting feedback from Chris Hajt; just improving on what I can do to be a better player. And I think it's been going well so far, so I just want to keep that going here with the Kings."
It also appears that Pheonix Copley has taken the number one goalie spot. He'll get his third straight start in net tonight.
"Right now, he (Copley) feels confident, he looks confident and he makes us feel confident. So, he'll play tonight."
The Sharks come to LA off the back of two wins and always seem to play their best hockey against the Kings. This will be a big challenge for the Kings.
Expected Los Angeles Kings Lines:
Kevin Fiala-Anze Kopitar-Adrian Kempe
Trevor Moore-Phil Danault-Alex Iafallo
Arthur Kaliyev-Blake Lizotte-Viktor Arvidsson
Jaret Anderson-Dolan-Rasmus Kupari-Gabe Vilardi
Mikey Anderson-Drew Doughty
Sean Durzi-Matt Roy
Alex Edler-Jordan Spence
Expected San Jose Sharks Lines:
Timo Meier-Tomas Hertl-Kevin Labanc
Nick Bonino-Logan Courture-Alexander Barbanov
Noah Gregor-Nico Sturm-Evgeny Svechnikov
Oskar Lindblom-Steven Lorentz-Jonah Gadjovich
Jaycob Megna-Erik Karlsson
Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Matt Benning
Scott Harrington-Radim Simek
Los Angeles Kings Power Play: 27-117, 23.08%, 13th in NHL
Los Angeles King Penalty Kill: 33-114, 71.05, 28th in NHL
San Jose Sharks Power Play: 17-80, 21.25%, 19th in NHL
San Jose Sharks Penalty Kill: 14-91, 84.62%, 3rd in NHL
Los Angeles Kings Pre-Game Notes:
- Drew Doughty (5-29=34) has the most points against San Jose among any active defenseman in the league.
- Anze Kopitar has 2,995 career shots on goal. Only three LA Kings skaters have eclipsed 3,000 shots in their career with the Kings: Marcel Dionne (3,848), Dustin Brown (3,360) and Luc Robitaille (3,091).
- The LA Kings are one of five teams to have multiple multi-goal, third-period comeback to win this season (Oct. 18 at NSH; Dec. 15 at BOS), joining the New York Islanders (3), New Jersey Ducks (3), Buffalo Sabres (2) and Washington Capitals (2).
- Carl Grundstrom’s 86 hits are third among Pacific Division skaters, trailing only Vancouver’s Luke Schenn (125) and Vegas’ Keegan Kolesar (96).
- The Kings and Bruins went into overtime for the fifth straight game at TD Garden Thursday night. The longest streak of two teams going into extra time at the same venue is six: Flyers and Islanders at Wells Fargo Center (from Nov. 16, 2019 – Jan. 18, 2022), the Kings and Oilers at Crypto.com Arena (Dec. 3, 2007 – Dec. 23, 2010) and the Stars and Avalanche at Reunion Arena (Feb. 21, 1999 –March 10, 2001).
How to Watch:
TV: Bally Sports West, ESPN+; Radio: iHeartRadio