The opportunity to run the table on this road trip starts shortly for the Seattle Kraken. They’ll take on the LA Kings this (Tuesday) evening. They’ll do it with Martin Jones in net and 4th-line center Morgan Geekie out of the line-up, which makes this fun bit of linked Shane Wright speculation even more potentially entertaining.
Starting Jones over Philipp Grubauer makes perfect sense considering Jones has beaten his former club twice already this season. He turned aside 26 of 27 shots back on October 13th in a 4-1 win in LA and battled to a 3-2 overtime win at Climate Pledge Arena just ten nights ago.
There’s always an added incentive to perform against one’s former franchise, one that Jones won a Stanley Cup with as a rookie back-up back in 2014. He’s more recognized for his time with the San Jose Sharks, a tenure that lasted six seasons and included a trip to the 2016 Stanley Cup Final, but it was the Kings that developed the undrafted netminder from North Vancouver, BC; the team with which he grew up as a player.
The LA Kings are sneaky good. They’re 12-9-and-3 and in third place in the Pacific Division, just behind the Kraken. They have a balanced line-up in terms of age and experience, excellent leadership and balanced scoring. Last season was considered somewhat of a rebuilding one at the start, only to find the team making the playoffs after finishing in third place in the Pacific Division at 44-27-and-11 under head coach Todd McLellan.
The Kings forced the Edmonton Oilers to seven games in the opening round only to lose the series finale 2-0.
They’re back, as is captain Anze Kopitar for his 17th NHL season. The Slovenian is tied for third in team scoring with Viktor Arvidsson with 17 points. Newcomer Kevin Fiala leads the way with 22.
Stability in net never hurts and the Kings have it with Cal Petersen and the venerable Jonathan Quick. It appears Quick gets the nod for this one. Neither has the personal stats they’re used to, but that might be a reflection of the Kings winning without their defensive game completely intact.
As they have earlier this season, Los Angeles could struggle with the Seattle Kraken’s tenacious forecheck.
Game time is a bit after 7:30 pm pacific.