Good afternoon from Las Vegas, where I have been told it is a comfortable 76 degrees outside. I wouldn’t know, because I’ve made a steady hotel room – rink – hotel room loop for the last two days with a hand or two of blackjack strewn in. The Kings (3-2-1) will look to better their 11-3-2 all-time MGM Grand record when they host the familiar Frozen Fury foe Colorado Avalanche (2-3-0) at 7:00 p.m. tonight. The game won’t be televised, though you can hear Nick and Daryl on KTLK AM 1150 and I Heart Radio. I’ll keep the updates flowing in the final live blog of the preseason.
-The LAKI projected lineup will be one of the tougher educated guesses of the exhibition schedule, as the morning skate was optional and Darryl Sutter was not available to confirm alignments. This is what I’m leaning towards:
Dustin Brown – Anze Kopitar – Tyler Toffoli
Matt Frattin – Mike Richards – Jeff Carter
Kyle Clifford – Jarret Stoll – Trevor Lewis
Daniel Carcillo – Colin Fraser – Jordan Nolan
Keaton Ellerby – Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell – Slava Voynov
Alec Martinez – Matt Greene
–Dustin Brown is playing tonight, in case you haven’t heard.
-I’m projecting Dwight King and Robyn Regehr will sit tonight. Players who skated this morning were Quick, Scrivens, Garon, Brown, Williams, Toffoli, Carcillo, Fraser, Nolan, King, Frattin, Clifford, Pearson, Vey, Muzzin, Schultz, Martinez, Greene, Ellerby and Voynov. Bear with any adjustments to the lineup above.
-Alec Martinez weathered a heavy hit from New York’s Justin Falk while earning a secondary assist on Jeff Carter’s first period goal last night, which was set up on a smooth touch pass by left winger Matt Frattin.
“It’s a game of hockey,” Martinez said this morning. “You’re going to get crunched pretty good every once in a while. I’m fine.”
It was a solid hockey play by Martinez – gain entry into the zone, take a hit, make a play.
“We wanted to get the line there and get it turned up right away. It’s something we’ve been working on,” Martinez said. “I didn’t really even see it coming. Got hit pretty good, but we scored, so that’s all that matters.”
Martinez also showed good vision in setting up Justin Williams for a power play goal that tied the game at one in Tuesday’s exhibition win over Anaheim. He has come on strong in the preseason after Darryl Sutter was impressed by his shape coming into training camp.
“He’s well-trained. Did a heck of a job,” Sutter said earlier in September of Martinez’s summer conditioning.
The way he has complemented Matt Greene throughout training camp – not exactly an unfamiliar assignment for the pair – it wouldn’t be an enormous surprise to see them paired together on opening night, barring any variables between now and October 3.
“Things are good. We’ve played together a lot,” Martinez said of Greene. “Pretty much ever since I’ve been here, he’s been my D-partner. I think we complement each other well, so things have been good.”
-Jonathan Quick was satisfied with the win over New York and appears to be in the right place to begin the season.
-So defensive prospect Nic Deslauriers skated as a forward in Manchester’s first AHL preseason game today, and this happened:
— Manchester Monarchs (@MonarchsHockey) September 28, 2013
-The Kings are 8-3-2 all-time against the Avalanche at Frozen Fury. Of the 16 games played in the event’s history, all but three have taken place against the Avs. The first Frozen Fury game was a 4-3 Los Angeles overtime win over Colorado on September 20, 1997. Roman Vopat, Olli Jokinen and Craig Johnson scored in regulation for the Kings, while Josef Marham Eric Messier and Joe Sakic scored for the Avalanche. Donald MacLean potted the game winner 2:51 into overtime off assists from Doug Zmolek and Jan Vopat.
-As noted yesterday, Adrian Dater of the Denver Post reported J.S. Giguere will draw the start tonight for Colorado. Here’s his most recent blog entry, as well as a blog entry previewing tonight’s game by Mile High Hockey. Hooray for preseason opponent blog reading on a beautiful Saturday! And, keeping with the Las Vegas theme on the final night of Frozen Fury, let us all offer a toast to the 2013 NHL Preseason with our three foot tall novelty plastic Icee margaritas.