A common theme this season for the Los Angeles Kings has been the lack of practice time. Having played more games than any other team to this point, they've often had to choose between rest or practice, unable to get both between games. This week, that changed.
A scheduled day off Thursday led to a full practice Friday, something the Kings haven't had much of this season.
"I think it's important," said Todd McLellan on the chance to get more practice time, "I think without practice your game can get sick and you've got to fine-tune it a little bit. Today was almost an hour of practice, that's a long time for us and I can't remember the last time we were able to do that. Looking forward, this coming week we'll have a couple of those and then we're going to get back on the road. The travel, the amount of games the back-to-backs take away that luxury sometimes. So, today, Tuesday and Wednesday next week, will be huge games for us.
The lines looked back to normal after Arvidsson's return, with Brendan Lemieux and Carl Grundstrom switching out on the fourth line.
Los Angeles Kings Lines:
Quinton Byfield-Anze Kopitar-Adrian Kempe
Alex Iafallo-Phil Danault-Viktor Arvidsson
Kevin Fiala-Blake Lizotte-Gabriel Vilardi
Brendan Lemieux-Rasmus Kupari-Jaret Anderson-Dolan
Mikey Anderson-Drew Doughty
Sean Durzi-Matt Roy
Alex Edler Sean Walker
Kevin Fiala-Anze Kopitar-Gabriel Vilardi
Drew Doughty-Adrian Kempe
Quinton Byfield-Phil Danault-Viktor Arvidsson
Sean Durzi-Alex Iafallo
With the extra time, the Kings were able to "clean up" areas of their game according to McLellan and prepare for the New Jersey Devils tomorrow.
An emphasis seemed to be placed on backchecking at practice, with the Kings running several drills emphasizing the importance of back pressure when defending the rush.
Arthur Kaliyev and Trevor Moore were both not on the ice. But, Viktor Arvidsson was back after missing Wednesday's game because of a non-COVID illness.
The other emphasis at practice was using more low-to-high plays on the power play. There was extra attention, particularly from the second unit, to this play. Phil Danault moving it to Arvidsson below the goal line, who would quickly pick out Quinton Byfield in the slot, or Alex Iafallo in the opposite faceoff circle.
The coaching staff will have homework tonight, with the Devils facing the Anaheim Ducks in the first of a back-to-back for New Jersey.
"When we have opportunities to watch our opposition play the night before we'll take advantage of that," said McLellan. "That game is captured, there's still a pre-scout, there's elements we'll use in a meeting tomorrow. We've already watched some of their games prior, so it will just be routine."