A few more pre-game news, notes and quotes (click here for more on yesterday’s practice day):
— The vitals: Jonathan Quick starts. He’s 17-6-1 in his career against Colorado with a 2.32 goals-against average, a .911 save percentage and two shutouts in 25 games. Joakim Ryan will enter the lineup for Derek Forbort, per Todd McLellan, so expect groups of Iafallo-Kopitar-Toffoli, Kempe-Carter-Frk, Moore-Lizotte-Brown and Lewis-Amadio-Wagner up front and defensive pairs of Ryan-Doughty, Martinez-Roy and MacDermid-Walker.
— Their vitals: Colorado turns to Phillip Grubauer, 2-2-0 in his career against Los Angeles with a 1.52 goals-against average, a .953 save percentage and one shutout in four starts. Nazem Kadri and Colin Wilson are on IR with lower-body injuries. They’re expected to turn to the same lineup used in a 3-2 loss to Washington two days ago that snapped a five-game winning streak, so expect forward groups of Burakovsky-MacKinnon-Rantanen (oh boy), Landeskog-Compher-Donskoi, Calvert-Bellemare-Nichushkin and Nieto-Jost-Kamenev, and D-pairs of Graves-Makar, Girard-Johnson and Cole-Zadorov.
— LA Kings (@LAKings) February 16, 2020
— Trevor Lewis lived in Colorado Springs for two years, and before he’d switched billets while playing for the Pikes Peak Miners, actually went to Air Academy High school, only two miles from Falcon Stadium. “You’d get to go on the base every day, so you’d have to show your ID. But it wasn’t military school, it was just a normal high school,” he said.
He played for the Miners for two seasons, totaling 35 goals the first season and 118 points in 70 games the next alongside good friends Kyle Gover and Mike Testuide, players who celebrated the 2012 Stanley Cup with him on the ice at Staples Center.
“I had a great experience there,” Lewis said. “I had a couple close friends go other with me too and so I knew some people right away. My billets were awesome – I still keep in touch with them.”
Lewis’ brother lives in Denver, as do a number of childhood friends. A player recognized when the Kings played in Salt Lake City in each of the past two preseasons, it’s an honor to play in a mountain-themed league event. “I still keep in touch with a lot of buddies and they’ve told me they’re going, so it’ll be fun to see everyone, fun to play in front of all those guys too. We get to play in Denver, but a lot of those guys work and don’t get to come up, so it’ll be cool to have them at the game.”
— Drew Doughty, who scored his last goal December 7 at Calgary, was asked who’d score the game’s first goal. “I haven’t scored in like 30 games, I feel like, so I’m going to go with me.”
The Kings have had patience for the type of questions alluding to their place in the standings and whether this type of high-profile event is an opportunity to show they’re better than their win total says they are. But you can tell they’re not particularly fond of that characterization.
“I’m not going to say we can beat every team every single night, but I believe we compete with the teams,” Doughty said. “There’s no way that the teams are leaving the arena saying this team doesn’t battle, this team doesn’t compete hard, they’re that easy to play against.’ There’s no way teams are leaving the rink saying that. We play hard and when we play the system we can be effective, we just can’t put 60 minutes together a lot of the times, and that’s why we lose games. We could put 20, 30, 40 minutes together, and that’s our downfall this year. Yeah, we want to try to be a really good team.”
— Austin Wagner, whose speed can create mismatches in this game, spoke about the feel at ice-level. “It’s a little bit different when you don’t have a lot of stands right along with you,” he said. “But the glass felt good, got some bend to it, and the boards, got some good kick off it. It’ll be good fun [Saturday]. The ice felt good. It felt a little bit snowy but that’s because we were doing a lot of stopping and starting and stuff like that. I think for the game, once they get the ice crew going and everything, it should be good.”
— LA Kings (@LAKings) February 15, 2020
Via the NHL:
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY–A look at the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series™ “By the Numbers.”
1 – The U.S. Air Force Academy is hosting its first outdoor hockey game in Falcon Stadium, home of the Air Force Falcons Football and Lacrosse teams, as well as, the Academy’s annual graduation.
1 – The NHL, Colorado Avalanche, USA Hockey and Athletica Sport Systems unveiled the first-Ever On-Ice Sled Hockey Sled Bench Prototype unveiled as part of the 2020 NHL Stadium Series Legacy Project.
2 – The 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series™ will mark the second regular-season outdoor game for the Colorado Avalanche; having hosted the 2016 NHL Stadium Series at Coors Field in Denver, a 5-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. The 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series™ at Falcon Stadium will also mark the second time the NHL has brought the NHL Stadium Series™ to a U.S. Service Academy following the Washington-Toronto matchup at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md. in 2018.
3 – The 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series™ will mark the third regular-season outdoor game for the Los Angeles Kings; having hosted the 2014 NHL Stadium Series, a 3-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, and travelled to Santa Clara, Calif., for the 2015 NHL Stadium Series at Levi’s Stadium, where they defeated the San Jose Sharks 2-1.
3 – Air Force hockey has been to the NCAA Elite Eight three times over the course of 51 seasons as a Division I hockey program (2009, 2017, 2018).
4 – Air Force hockey has had four All-American players, including Eric Ehn in 2007, Jaques Lamoureux and Greg Flynn in 2009 and Tim Kirby in 2012.
4.5 – Approximate number of hours the Truly Hard Seltzer® NHL® PreGame at the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series™ will be open on Saturday, Feb. 15 at Falcon Alley at U.S. Air Force Academy. The 2020 Truly Hard Seltzer® NHL® Pregame will feature an appearance by the most revered trophy in all of sports – the Stanley Cup® where fans can take photos from 1:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. MT – a variety of hockey attractions, free giveaways, live musical performances, and much more.
7 – Falcon Stadium will become the seventh football stadium to host the NHL Stadium Series. Falcon Stadium is the third college football venue to host the game, joining TCF Bank Stadium (2016) and Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (2018).
8 – Number worn by Colorado Avalanche defenseman, Cale Makar , who is second in NHL rookie scoring and sixth amongst all defenseman with 42 points (12-30-42 in 48 GP) through games played on Feb. 13.
8 – Members of the eight gold-medal U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Sled hockey teams spanning 60 years will be taking part in a special salute to the national governing body during the second intermission. Bill Cleary (1960 Men’s), Guy Gosselin (2018 Paralympic Sled), Nicole Hensley (2018 Women’s), Taylor Lipsett (2010 & 2014 Paralympic Sled), A.J. Mleczko Griswold (1998 Women’s), Buzz Schneider (1980 Men’s), Kip St. Germaine (2002 Paralympic Sled) and Andy Yohe (2010 Paralympic Sled) will be joined by more than 30 local youth hockey players for the tribute, followed by a performance of “America the Beautiful” by USAFA’s “In the Stairwell.”
9 – The U.S. Air Force Academy is the top service academy in the Learfield IMG College Director’s Cup standings for the ninth consecutive year. Air Force ranked is 51st nationally in the 2019-20 standings so far.
11 – The 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series™ will mark the 11th NHL Stadium Series. Since 2014, the Stadium Series has been played in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago (2014), Santa Clara (2015), Minneapolis and Denver (2016), Pittsburgh (2017), Annapolis (2018) and Philadelphia (2019).
11 – Number worn by Los Angeles Kings forward, Anze Kopitar, who leads the club in scoring with 49 points (17-32-49 in 58 GP) through games played on Feb. 12.
F16 – Part of the field décor for the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series™ features the first ever F16 Thunderbird aircraft sitting atop a simulated airfield, runways adorned with working lights, a helipad serving as the musical stage, and landing zones for parachute jumpers.
17.4 – According to Visit Colorado Springs, the projected economic impact of the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series™ will be $17.4 Million.
17.6 – Average low temperature, in degrees Fahrenheit, for U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. on Feb. 15,according to accuweather.com.
27 – The U.S. Air Force Academy has 27 NCAA intercollegiate sports.
29 – Number worn by Colorado Avalanche forward, Nathan MacKinnon , who leads the club in scoring and is fourth in NHL scoring with 80 points (32-48-80 in 56 GP) through games played on Feb. 13.
30 – The 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series™ will mark the 30th NHL® regular-season outdoor game contested. Of the previous 29 games that have been played, 18 of those have been hosted within football stadiums, 10 have been inside baseball stadiums and one inside a soccer stadium.
41.1 – Average temperature at puck drop, in degrees Fahrenheit, for the previous 10 NHL Stadium Series games (2014 — 62°, 2014 — 25°, 2014 — 22°, 2014 — 17°, 2015 — 57°, 2016 — 35°, 2016 — 65°, 2017 — 46°, 2018 – 41.7°, 2019 – 40.5°).
42.8 – Average high temperature, in degrees Fahrenheit, for U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. on Feb. 15,according to accuweather.com.
53 – Length, in feet, of the world’s largest mobile rink refrigeration unit, specially built for outdoor games conducted by the NHL.
62 – This year’s senior class at the U.S. Air Force Academy will be the 62nd graduating class.
101 – As part of the countdown to the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series™ Mike Craig, NHL Senior Manager of Facility Operations, hosted an Ice Making 101 field trip for fifth grade students from Christa McAuliffe Elementary as part of the NHL & NHLPA’s Future Goals program, an Industry Growth Fund initiative. The students saw the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) concepts they are learning in the classroom come to life during the Feb. 12 field trip at the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium.
134 – The 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series™ will mark the 134th time the Colorado Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques and Los Angeles Kings have faced off in regular-season games since the 1979-80 season, with the Kings holding a 152-127 edge in points over the Avalanche (LAK 70-52-12-152; COL 56-63-15-127). In addition, the two franchises have met twice in the Stanley Cup® Playoffs, with the most recent meeting coming in the 2002 Western Conference Quarter Final, which was decided in seven games by the Avalanche.
183 – In the last five years the U.S. Air Force Academy has had 183 cadet-athletes recognized as All-Americans, the best five-year run in school history.
243 – Number of ice pans under the rink at Falcon Stadium, each measuring 30″ x 340″ in size.
300 – Ton capacity of the refrigeration trailer that will keep the ice cool at Falcon Stadium.
350 – Gallons of non-toxic paint used to make the ice at Falcon Stadium white.
811 – Number of players and coaches who have participated in the NHL’s 29 regular-season outdoor games to date (777 players, 34 coaches).
1,000 – Number of cadets that will be inside Falcon Stadium for the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series™, with 846 of them seated in chairs on the field, making this the first-ever NHL outdoor game to have spectators on the field.
1,091 – Number of players who have won the Stanley Cup® since the NHL assumed full control of the trophy in 1926-27. The Stanley Cup® will be on display at the Truly Hard Seltzer® NHL® PreGame, Feb. 15 from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
1962 – Year that the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium officially opened its doors.
3,000 – Gallons of coolant used to freeze the rink at Falcon Stadium.
7,000 – The U.S. Air Force Academy is 7,000 feet above sea level.
20,000 – Gallons of water needed to create a two-inch ice surface at Falcon Stadium for the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series™.
1,578,507 – Total attendance for the NHL’s 29 regular-season outdoor games, an average of 54,431 per game.
6,000,000+ – The Legacy initiative is an ongoing philanthropic endeavor through which the League and the local Club support community organizations in the host city of an NHL Event. Since 2003, the League, its Clubs and partners have donated more than $6 million to communities across North America. Legacy projects have aided thousands of hospital patients in recovery; helped at-risk youth and families gain better access to educational and vocational training; and provided greater access to people of all ages to learn and play hockey.
Photos from earlier today: