Game 25 Preview: Los Angeles at Phoenix - LA Kings Insider

Projected Starting Goaltender, Los Angeles – Jonathan Quick*
Season: 19 GP (18 GS) / 9-7-2 record / 2.47 GAA / .899 Sv% / 0
Career vs Phoenix: 23 (23) / 11-9-3 / 2.55 / .908 / 3
Last Game vs Phoenix: 1/26/13 / 60 MP / 31/33 / 4-2 W
2012-13, Away: 10 (10) / 3-5-1 / 2.76 / .902 / 0
*The Kings do not reveal starting goaltenders in advance, and because of the absence of a morning skate, it wasn’t possible to confidently deduce tonight’s starter. See the projected lineups after the jump for more details.

Projected Starting Goaltender, Phoenix – Mike Smith
Season: 20 (20) / 10-7-2 / 2.96 / .897 / 3
Career vs Los Angeles: 11 (11) / 8-2-1 / 1.62 / .941 / 2
Last Game vs Los Angeles: 2/21/12 / 65 MP / 25/29 + 2/3 / 5-4 SOW
2012-13, Home: 12 (12) 7-4-0 / 3.30 / .876 / 2

Leading Scorers, Los Angeles
Total Points: Anze Kopitar (8-14=22)
Goals: Jeff Carter (17-2=19)
Assists: Anze Kopitar (8-14=22)
Plus/Minus: Justin Williams (+12; 3-12=15)
Penalty Minutes: Keaton Ellerby (48*; 0-1=1)
*36 of Ellerby’s 48 PIM were accrued while with the Florida Panthers.

Leading Scorers, Phoenix
Total Points: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (3-14=17)
Goals: Shane Doan (8-6=14)
Assists: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (3-14=17)
Plus/Minus: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (+7; 3-14=17)
Penalty Minutes: Kyle Chipchura (43; 4-6=10)

A stick tap goes to: Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The 21-year old Swede is following up his 13-goal, 32-point performance from a season ago with a breakthrough campaign in which he has solidified himself as one of the most exciting young defensemen in the game. His 25:13 average ice time ranks 12th in the league, he leads Phoenix in scoring, and earlier this week Corey Masiak of tabbed him as a potential Norris Trophy finalist. Ekman-Larsson has a hard, accurate shot from the point and has held together well in his own end while matching up against the opposition’s top players.

A fist shake goes to: Phoenix’s injuries. Well, more accurately, the injury to Radim Vrbata. Phoenix’s deadliest sniper a year ago with a career-high 35 goals, news broke yesterday that what was originally thought of as a bone bruise is actually a fractured foot. Vrbata, who suffered the injury blocking a shot on February 16, will miss his eleventh consecutive game tonight, and his status beyond this week in unclear. Not that the Kings will be shedding a solitary tear due to their own injury adjustments, but the Coyotes also lost key performers Martin Hanzal and Mike Smith to injured reserve earlier this year.

Why the Kings need to win this game: With Anaheim’s standing and the way they’ve been on a roll, L.A.’s nine-point hill to climb for a divisional title over the final 24 games of the season presents a significant challenge. Home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs is still a very realistic goal, and there are currently eight teams between 26 and 30 points that are thinking the exact same thing.

Rankings and Statistics
Goals/Game: LAK – 9 / 2.92; PHX – 14 / 2.76
Goals Against/Game: LAK – t-8 / 2.46; PHX – 17 / 2.80
Power Play: LAK – 13 / 18.2%; PHX – 21 / 16.0%
Penalty Kill: LAK – t-13 / 82.1%; PHX – t-9 / 83.5%
Shots/Game: LAK – 17 / 28.5; PHX – t-8 / 30.2
Shots Against/Game: LAK – 2 / 24.2; PHX – t-14 / 28.4
Faceoffs: LAK – 6 / 52.0%; PHX – t-3 / 53.0%
Save Percentage: LAK – 22 / .898; PHX – 20 / .902

Projected Lines – Los Angeles

Dustin Brown – Anze Kopitar – Justin Williams
Dustin Penner – Mike Richards – Jeff Carter
Dwight King – Jarret Stoll – Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford – Colin Fraser – Jordan Nolan

Jake Muzzin – Drew Doughty
Rob Scuderi – Slava Voynov
Keaton Ellerby – Alec Martinez

Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Bernier

Notes: There was no morning skate, and Darryl Sutter prefers to withhold starting goaltenders, so the projection of Quick starting for the second consecutive day is an assessment based heavily on Sutter’s quote after the game last night, “We’ll talk on the plane tonight [and] see.” Expect several extra players to take the ice for warm-ups, and unless any players are feeling ill effects of the back-to-back, I’m projecting the same lineup as last night. As always, line projections are educated assessments and not definite alignments.

Projected Lines – Phoenix

Mikkel Boedker – Martin Hanzal – Lauri Korpikoski
Steve Sullivan – Antoine Vermette – Shane Doan
Rob Klinkhammer – Boyd Gordon – David Moss
Raffi Torres – Kyle Chipchura – Nick Johnson

Keith Yandle – Derek Morris
Rostislav Klesla – Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Michael Stone – Chris Summers

Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera

Notes: Line estimations by Jerry Brown of Zbynek Michalek is questionable for tonight after blocking a shot in Saturday’s win over Dallas. He would replace Chris Summers in the lineup if he is able to go. Matthew Lombardi has been day-to-day with an upper body injury and would replace either Rob Klinkhammer or Nick Johnson if he is able to go. As always, line projections are educated assessments and not definite alignments.

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.