A few pre-game notes.
— The vitals: Cal Petersen gets the nod against Vegas, against whom he stopped 22 of 25 in a 4-3 overtime win at T-Mobile Arena on December 23, 2018. Todd McLellan confirmed there won’t be any other lineup changes, so expect forward groups of Iafallo-Kopitar-Brown, Moore-Lizotte-Lewis, Kempe-Vilardi-Frk and Prokhorkin-Amadio-Wagner and defensive pairs of Hutton-Doughty, Anderson-Roy and MacDermid-Walker.
— Their vitals:
— David Schoen 📰🗞🏒 (@DavidSchoenLVRJ) March 1, 2020
— Today’s another good test for Mikey Anderson – as well as the entire LA Kings group against a Vegas team vying for a franchise-record ninth straight wins. Only once have the Kings won nine straight – in January and February, 2010 – and though Mark Stone and Alex Tuch are out with lower-body injuries and Tomas Nosek may be a game-time decision, L.A. faces an steep challenge against a McLellan noted for making opponents compete for every inch of the ice and minimizing rush chances against.
The Kings and Golden Knights last met six days prior to Gerard Gallant’s dismissal, and since the players have gotten a good handle of Peter DeBoer’s systems, Vegas’ penalty kill – the “structure, the forecheck” – has improved significantly, according to McLellan. “We call it the washing machine. It’s a technical term that we use for the end zone play. They’ve been doing that significantly different and I guess much better. They’ve been getting some really good results.”
— Back to Anderson. Another test, one in a new building and without last change – but in which the rookie’s adrenaline should still be high.
“I get a better indication of really what they’re going to be 10 or 12, 15 periods into a recall,” McLellan said. “His game was really good yesterday afternoon. Moved pucks well, defended well, made simple plays. Not a lot of risk in his game, which was fine. He created some offensive chances.”
“He’s got a bright future. Is he completely ready? I don’t know, we’ll find out over the next so many games over the recall.”
— Regarding Vilardi, slated to play in his 16th, 17th and 18th periods of the season and with an adrenaline supply that probably isn’t at the same “cloud nine” level some eight seconds into his first shift, there was a call to continue to work on his pace and his engine. This will be an important summer for him to continue to feel healthy and establish a conditioning baseline that he can meet, surpass, and use to build consistency as compared to prior off-seasons in which he was expending energy to get healthy. “If you don’t come in with a good base to train, its hard to make it up through the year,” McLellan said.
— Matt Roy, on whether he’s beginning to notice that he’s getting under some opponents’ skin: “I mean, I guess sometimes. I don’t know if I’ve just been flying under the radar all year because I’m a new guy and the guys don’t really know much about me. But hopefully I am making that impression on them and frustrating them. Hopefully when they come play us, they see my name on the lineup and hopefully they don’t want to play against me, so that’s what I’m trying to do.”
He had several palpable hits during the five-game home stand, and opposing players are noticing him a little bit. He’s impressively logged only four minor penalties this season, but had to fight once in the USHL, “and then I had two, technically three in the minor leagues.”
He’s looking to finish the year strong and credited communication with McLellan and Trent Yawney towards his improving play. “When I play aggressive and assertive, that’s usually when I play my best game. If I kind of sit back and let the game come to me, it makes it a lot harder to make plays and defend and check and all that.”
— DeBoer, when asked about an L.A. team that has “undergone changes”: “They’ve undergone changes, but I warned our group, watching them on tape, well-coached, they’re playing fast, they’re playing really with no pressure, nothing to lose. It’s a dangerous team, and I think they’re 5-2 in their last seven games. They’re winning some games lately. They’re a team that we have to give the proper amount of respect to, because they can beat anybody, and they have lately.”
— Jeff Carter (lower-body) got on the ice today, “and it wouldn’t be deemed successful.” He’s listed as “day-to-day,” but this is now the second time he hasn’t had a positive skate, per McLellan.
— Tonight’s officials are referees Garrett Rank and Steve Kozari and linesmen Michael Cormier and Mark Chewchyk. More to come from T-Mobile Arena, Insiders. Let’s talk soon.