Let's get ready to rumble!
Friday marks the first meeting between the Los Angeles Kings (27-17-6) and Florida Panthers (23-21-6) since Matthew Tkachuk's poke of Jonathan Quick's eye. An act that earned Tkachuk a two-game suspension and didn't endear Tkachuk to a Kings team and fan base that already wasn't fond of him.
I have to imagine this game involves some retribution for that high stick and might see Brendan Lemieux return to the lineup to deliver that retribution.
This game is about more than just Tkachuk v Kings though. The Kings are in a tight playoff race in the Pacific Division, making every game feel like a must-win at this point. While the Panthers are trying to avoid following up a Presidents Trophy win by missing the playoffs.
Despite their place in the standings, this is a Panthers team with plenty of weapons, so the Kings will have to be sharp to avoid a defeat.
Expected LA Kings Lines:
Quinton Byfield-Anze Kopitar-Adrian Kempe
Alex Iafallo-Phil Danault-Viktor Arvidsson
Kevin Fiala -Blake Lizotte-Jaret Anderson-Dolan
Rasmus Kupari-Alex Turcotte-Samuel Fagemo/Brendan Lemieux
Mikey Anderson-Drew Doughty
Sean Durzi-Matt Roy
Alex Edler-Sean Walker
Expected Florida Panthers Lines Per FloridaHockeyNow.com
Anton Lundell-Sasha Barkov-Sam Reinhart
Carter Verhaeghe-Sam Bennett-Matthew Tkachuk
Nick Cousins-Eetu Luostarinen-Colin White
Ryan Lomberg-Eric Staal-Givani Smith
Gus Forsling-Aaron Ekblad
Marc Staal-Brandon Montour
Josh Mahura-Radko Gudas
Los Angeles Kings Power Play: 42-173, 24.28, 9th in NHL
Los Angeles Kings Penalty Kill: 44-169, 73.96%, 25th in NHL
Florida Panthers Power Play: 43-177, 24.29%, 8th in NHL
Florida Panthers Penalty Kill: 49-188, 73.94%, 26th in NHL
Los Angeles Kings Pregame Notes:
- Tonight is the first game of the Kings’ seventh set of back-to-backs this season. Prior to this weekend, the team is 6-3-3 in back-to-backs (4-2-0 in the first game, 2-1-3 in the second).
- Anze Kopitar has 10 points (3-7=10) in his last six games against the Panthers, dating back to March 16, 2019.
- Forward Rasmus Kupari skates into FLA Live Arena two games shy of 100 in his career. With two more games, Kupari would become the 24th skater from the 2018 NHL Draft class to reach this mark.
- Samuel Fagemo tallied his second career goal Wednesday night in Philadelphia. He now has three points (2-1=3) in seven games this season.
- Drew Doughty (29) needs one game-winning goal to surpass Rob Blake for sole possession of seventh place on the Kings’ all-time list.
How to Watch:
TV: Bally Sports West, ESPN+; Radio: iHeartRadio