The Los Angeles Kings took the ice on Sunday before traveling to Edmonton for Game one of the postseason Monday.
The big news from practice was Gabe Vilardi re-joining the group in a red non-contact jersey.
"No timeline's yet," said Todd McLellan on Vilardi's potential return. "Good sign to see him out there."
Based on past injury returns, my best guess would be that Vilardi doesn't play Monday. Skates with the team in a normal jersey Tuesday and Wednesday and dresses for Game two.
Alex Edler was taking line rushes alongside Sean Durzi, with Sean Walker taking rushes alongside Alex Laferriere and Gabe Vilardi, indicating those three won't play tomorrow.
Kevin Fiala was not on the ice Sunday, indicating he won't start the series.
Of course, that could change by Monday.
This is a first-round matchup between these two teams who have developed a big rivalry over the last 12 months. Players have said the Edmonton rivalry is their biggest right now, pointing towards a physical, nasty series.
The Kings need to keep their heads and not let the emotion of a rivalry take over the series for them.
Obviously, getting into penalty trouble against the best power play in NHL history is a mistake. But breaking their structure at five-on-five would be a death sentence.
"I think that's key for both teams," said Mikey Anderson on being engaged with the rivalry without letting it overtake the series. "I think both teams have top-five power plays in the league. So, obviously, you want to be physical, get in each others face as much as you can to make it hard. But, flip side of that, you have to keep emotions in check, you don't want to be running to the penalty box all game all series. So it's something you make sure to keep an eye on keep focused on within the room and keep guys accountable for not letting it get there."
McLellan also touched on balancing the emotion of the rivalry and the intensity it brings.
"Well we have to be engaged there's no doubt about it," said McLellan. "I don't think any team's going to win in any of the series without being engaged. But you have to be under control of your emotions. Handle every situation properly, what's appropriate for the moment and be ready to go. And move on from what just happened to the next job, the next task. That will be important for us, we gained some experience last year. That's got to help us a little bit, knowing what it's going to feel like in that arena, knowing what it's going to sound like. I think having been through it and knowing in the back of your mind that each of the senses is aware of what's coming is a benefit to us. But also to them, they went through it as well last year, so there's no advantage to either team."
Last season the Kings had several young players get their first taste of playoff experience, which should help them this year. No one has any excuses to not perform this season.
"So, the term younger guys, we've played 82 games, I don't know that we have a rookie on our team," said McLellan on having more trust in young players this season. "We don't have younger guys any more. We have players that have experience now, we have players that have played in the playoffs before, we have players that have played large parts of important games in different situations. They need to produce, simple as that."