January 16: Lineups; Doughty happy to sit this Tkachuk story out

Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI

INSIDERS. The LA Kings and Florida Panthers meet upon sunset in Sunrise, Florida (4:00 p.m. PT / FOX Sports West / FOX Sports GO / LA Kings Audio Network). Expect this L.A. lineup:




— The vitals: Jack Campbell was the first off the ice at the morning skate and expected to face the Panthers. Last year’s jaunt through the remnants of the Southeast Division contained a pair of trainwrecks around a shootout loss at Tampa Bay on the trade deadline. Campbell entered in relief in both of those trainwrecks, the second of which was a 6-1 defeat at BB&T Center in which he stopped both shots, representing his career action against Florida to date. He’s 2-2-0 with a 2.26 goals-against average and .934 save percentage since the Christmas break.

— Their vitals: It’s looking like L.A. will face Chris Driedger, the first of Florida’s three goalies to leave the ice this morning. Driedger, set to appear in his 12th NHL game, is a former Ottawa Senator and entrenched North American pro who had a .938 Sv% in the AHL, has a .931 Sv% in eight games in the NHL, and last year appeared in 12 games with L.A.’s ECHL affiliate in Manchester (amidst 32 in AHL-Springfield). Forward MacKenzie Weegar is on IR with an upper-body injury, while goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is active but unlikely to suit up because of his own upper-body injury. Florida’s .905 five-on-five save percentage ranks 29th. They’ve scored the third-most 5×5 goals (110) and allowed the fourth-most (107).

— Nikolai Prokhorkin is gaining repetitions both in his practice of English and on the power play, where he’s manned a point over the last four games. Some extra stickhandling than was perhaps required was necessary as he absorbed and adjusted to pressure early in the game, but he handled it and maintained possession of the puck and during a man advantage later on earned an assist when Dustin Brown reached and deflected his wristshot past Andre Vasilevskiy. “I just shot it, got lucky,” he said.

“We practice in the morning, but we have a power play in the game – the other team plays well. Last game, we had a power play, good shot, good tip for Brownie.”

He’s logged 6:28 over the last four games and has been on the ice for two goals for. Overall, in 19 and a half minutes of power play time, he ranks third among 13 qualified skaters with a 6.16 GF/60 in 5×4 play.

“Skill, good shot, poised with the puck, some confidence now,” Todd McLellan said. “As his NHL career evolves, with the type of talent he has, he has to make that happen and make that go. It might be what’s considered the ‘second unit’ – I don’t know on any given night – but he’s an important player there and obviously set up Brownie for a really big goal in Tampa, and we need more of that from him as well.”

— Drew Doughty was mountain ranges and time zones away from Matthew Tkachuk and the inquiries of Canadian media when he was gently nudged about last Saturday’s incident in the Battle of Alberta involving Tkachuk and Zack Kassian.

“It’s just kind of nice not being a part of it,” he said. “I think everyone kind of saw something like this eventually happening. I’m not surprised Kassian and him being big-time rivals and stuff like that. It’s amusing because I’m not involved in it, but I’m sure next time we play one of those teams they’ll start asking me about it again and try to get me back involved, but I’m just trying to stay out of it from now on.”

Doughty acknowledged that he usually plays better when family is watching and was counting on some juju with his father in the building. “I usually score when he’s around,” Doughty said. “I haven’t scored in ever. I haven’t even gotten a point in a long time, so hopefully he’ll bring me some luck tonight – and a win, too.”

The trip continued today with a fishing expedition, though several dads – Rob Toffoli and Frank Martinez among them – attended the morning skate at the BB&T Center. They’ve been well fed and well entertained during the trip, but as Doughty acknowledged, “they’re just happy if they come here and watch us play hockey, so that’s all that matters to them.”

— The Kings will unveil their Stadium Series jerseys tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. L.A. time. The Avs’ sweaters:

— Lots more to come on jerseys Friday morning. Tonight’s officials are referees Tom Chmielewski and Ian Walsh and linesmen Pierre Racicot and Jonny Murray. Let’s talk soon, Insiders.


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