INSIDERS. Good morning to you from Toyota Sports Center. I’m about to step into a meeting before heading downtown on a rainy game day, so here’s your quick lineup hit this morning. The LA Kings showed the following alignment in advance of tonight’s game against the New Jersey Devils (7:30 p.m. / FOX Sports West / FOX Sports app / LA Kings Audio Network):
Some quick notes (also Quick notes):
–The vitals: Jonathan Quick was the first goalie off the ice and will be projected to start versus the Devils, against whom he is 4-4-2 in his career with a 2.47 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage. Nikita Scherbak skated to the left of Adrian Kempe and Matt Luff. As of the start of today’s skate, his visa paperwork had not yet been finalized, but that could change later today. “If we get it done, then he’ll be in the lineup. If we don’t, then we won’t. That’s a process, it takes a while, so there’s nothing anybody can do about that. It’s just a process.” Because of the state funeral for President George H.W. Bush yesterday, there weren’t necessarily the same means to facilitate the process as there would be on a typical day. “A lot of the federal agencies were closed down, and that’s certainly something that a person understands and appreciated that,” Desjardins said. “It’s something that’ll just take its process.” If it’s not finalized, then Austin Wagner, who remained on the ice for extra work with Paul LaDue and Cal Petersen, would slot back alongside Kempe and Luff. Meanwhile, Derek Forbort should be ready to go after he was jammed into the end boards while battling with Mario Kempe during Tuesday’s game. Forbort did not skate through the entire practice on Wednesday, per Curtis Zupke.
–Their vitals: New Jersey’s morning skate is just underway; prior to flying to Los Angeles yesterday, they aligned thusly:
— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) December 5, 2018
There’s no word as of 11:00 a.m. as to who their goaltender will be. Regicide enthusiast Keith Kincaid, who has two shutouts and a .990 save percentage in four career appearances against Los Angeles, has better numbers (9-7-5 / 2.94 / .906) than Cory Schneider (0-5-0 / 4.19 / .862) on the year. New Jersey has lost six straight (0-3-3), alternating losses with overtime losses, but can still slow teams down in transition to force uncontrolled entries. “You see them through the neutral zone, they’re very organized through the neutral zone that’s hard to create speed against. You have to pay attention to it,” Desjardins said. “I think they have lots of guys that work hard, they’ve got good team speed, so that’s always something we have to be aware of and try to find a way to handle. But they’re a good team – I think they’re a little bit of a team where they get on streaks where they play so well, so we just have to make sure we’re ready tonight. I liked our morning skate. I think our focus is good. We should bring a good effort tonight.”
–Tonight’s officials are referees Tom Chmielewski and Francois St. Laurent and linesmen Brandon Gawryletz and Steve Miller. Elliott Yamin will perform the nation anthem. Lots more to come this afternoon after a meeting and what should probably be a hellacious commute. Let’s talk soon, Insiders.
–Lead photo via Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI