Los Angeles Kings: Back In Action
The Christmas holiday has come and gone as did the eight days off for the Los Angeles Kings.
With hopes of returning to action with a full, healthy line up coming into tonights contest against the Phoenix Coyotes; such is not the case.
Jarret Stoll and Randy Jones will both be missing from the line up tonight as the Kings return to action. Stoll is attempting to come back from a sore groin and Jones has been battling concussion like symptoms.
Now, with bad news there is always good news. Ryan Smyth will be making his return to the line up this evening along with Jack Johnson. Johnson only missed one game, but Smyth has been out of the line up for an extensive period. He’s missed 15 games for the Kings and prior to injury was scoring at a point per game clip. His absence has been one of merit, although the Kings have been able to continue their winning ways. Anytime one of your top line forwards goes down to an injury, the return is anticipated highly. Tonight, we wait no more.
Tonights line up (subject to change):
Scuderi – Doughty
Johnson – O’Donnell
Drewiske – Greene
Healthy scratches: Purcell, Harrold
Jonathan Quick will be making his 35th start of the season for LA. He is one of only five goalies in the league who have hit the 20 win mark. He is one of the reasons the Kings have had the season they are having. The play of Quick, along with the solid team chemistry has the Kings poised for a new year with positive results. It has been an amazing turn around from one year ago.
According to Rich Hammonds blog at LAKingsInsider.com, Terry Murray said that none of the returning players will be playing a limited role. Words that Hockeywood can smile about.
Simmonds, who had knee surgery just two weeks ago, has made quite the recovery. Slotting into the third line could make that line dangerous to play against if you are the opposition. It is an energy line with some gifted players that can generate plenty of offensive chances as well.
The two clubs have met four times already this season. The Kings are 3-1 against the Coyotes. The defeat came on October 3rd, the beginning of the season which was a 6-3 loss. The Kings have won the next three, one in the shootout most recently.
This game could be decided by the battle on the ice during special teams play. Both teams are complete opposites of each other in terms of power play against penalty kill and vice versa.
The Kings are tied for 12th in the NHL with the man advantage while the Coyotes are ranked 6th on the penalty kill. On the other hand, the Kings penalty kill is ranked 23rd in the league while the Coyotes power play is ranked 21st. A game of numbers, as it is more often then not, could all come to a head if the Kings do not play responsible hockey.
The eight days of anticipation are finally over. The Kings are back in action tonight with some points to make up from the eight day vacation from the game.
Andrei Loktionov – Shoulder IR. (Out until at least late December)
Randy Jones – Head (Out for Dec. 26 at Phoenix)
Jarret Stoll – Groin (Out for Dec. 26 at Phoenix)