Good afternoon, Insiders. The Kings and Oilers face off for the fourth time this season and third and final time at Rogers Place tonight (6:00 p.m. PT / FOX Sports West / KABC 790 / I Heart Radio). Los Angeles’ morning skate was optional, and while there were no actual line rushes held, there were still several bits to share. Among them:
-Ben Bishop was the only goalie to take the ice, but he remained on late for extra work, an indication that Jonathan Quick will draw the start. Marian Gaborik was among those to stay late with Bishop, so he could be out of tonight’s lineup. Gaborik was a healthy scratch in two games this season: the 1-0 loss in Boston on December 18 and the 4-1 win over Anaheim on February 25. As always, these are hints and not firm indications that a player is definitively in or out. “Wait for the song,” it has been said once or twice.
-Tonight marks the third time the Kings have played in the Oilers’ new home, so it was worth asking around to get a sense of the feel the players receive from the arena. “It’s a good atmosphere for a new building,” Dustin Brown said. “Some of these new buildings you go into, and the atmosphere is better than some of the newer buildings I’ve been in, partly and probably because of the excitement around the team. The ice is good.” Keep in mind that the Rexall Place ice surface was often referred to as one of the best in the league 10 years ago. “My first game in Rexall was really good and I think it wavered, kind of. I mean, it’s all relative. I play in Staples 41 times a year, so anything’s good,” he said. Interestingly, Brown referenced Gila River Arena as having very good ice, which he credited to the lack of humidity in Arizona. More from Brown later this afternoon.
-Meanwhile, Cam Talbot will start in net for Edmonton. Other Oilers notes:
Oilers lineup tonight: Talbot starts, Slepyshev in for Khaira on 4th line, Gryba replaces Benning on defence.
— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) March 28, 2017
-More to come shortly, including some notes on several Kings drafted players. Tonight’s officials are referees Kyle Rehman and Steve Kozari, and the linesmen are Brian Mach and Mark Wheler. Let’s talk soon, Insiders.
“Their top forwards want to play defence now. In the past they kind of worried about getting points.” – Doughty on the improved Oilers.
— Rob Tychkowski (@Sun_Tychkowski) March 28, 2017