The most exciting tournament in all of sports, the Stanley Cup playoffs, start today. The Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers will launch a rematch of last seasons Round One matchup on Monday.
Puck drops at 7:00 PM.
This has the potential to be the most entertaining series of Round One. It's two teams who don't like each other and are evenly matched facing off.
This series will be physical and hard fought. But with two top-five power plays facing off, staying disciplined will be a key.
Gabe Vilardi and Kevin Fiala are not available for the Kings. The health of these two players will be key. Vilardi skated with the team yesterday in a red jersey, so he is close. Fiala has not re-joined the team for practice yet, so his availability is still up in the air.
Alex Edler has fully re-joined the group and appears ready to on Monday. I'd assume he starts, but Todd McLellan should have a relatively short leash with him. I fully understand why Edler stars the series, he brings size and experience that the Kings can use on the backend.
But against one of the fastest teams in the NHL, there's potential that Edler's weaknesses are exposed.
Sean Walker's caught a lot of hate this season, but he's one of the best skaters on the team and can handle Edmonton's speed better than Edler.
Joonas Korpisalo is expected in net tonight.
The Kings will need to find a way to solve Stuart Skinner, the Kings have scored just once on Skinner in his last two starts. He has 63 saves over the two games.
Skinner has zero playoff experience and the Kings can't let him get comfortable in the net. They need to get into his crease and not allow him to see pucks.
Los Angeles Kings Predicted Lines:
Quinton Byfield-Anze Kopitar-Adrian Kempe
Trevor Moore-Phil Danault-Viktor Arvidsson
Alex Iafallo-Blake Lizotte-Arthur Kaliyev
Carl Grundstrom-Rasmus Kupari-Jaret Anderson-Dolan/Zack MacEwen
Mikey Anderson-Drew Doughty
Vladislav Gavrikov -Matt Roy
Projected Edmonton Oilers Lines:
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-Connor McDavid-Zach Hyman
Evander Kane-Leon Draisailt-Kailer Yamamoto
Klim Kostin-Nick Bjugstad-Mattias Janmark
Warren Foegele -Ryan McLeod-Derek Ryan
Darnell Nurse-Cody Ceci
Mattias Ekholm-Evan Bouchard
Brett Kulak-Vincent Desharnais
Los Angeles Kings Pregame Notes:
- The Los Angeles Kings finished the regular season with a top-five power play for the first time since the 2001-02 season
- Anze Kopitar led the Kings in regular season scoring for the 15th time in his career. Only Gordie Howe has led a single franchise in scoring more times than Kopitar.
- Adrian Kempe reached the 40-goal mark for the first time in his career. Making him the first Kings' player to reach that mark since Luc Robitaille in the 1993-94 season.
How to Watch:
TV: Bally Sports West, ESPN+; Radio: iHeartRadio