Last night the Kings took on the Colorado Avalanche in Colorado. The game was an interesting one, and a good chance to get a feel for what players may be playing with what players when the actual season gets underway. For the moment, it looks as if the Kings lined up mostly as everyone expected, though some key players didn’t suit up and so were obviously replaced.
According to Rich Hammond, the lines stacked up effectively as such (during 5 on 5 play):
Parse – Stoll – Williams
Ponikarovsky – Handzus – Holloway
Richardson – Elkins – Zeiler
Nolan – Azevedo – Westgarth
The first line is roughly what many expect to see as the 2nd line when the regular season kicks up, while the 2nd line will likely replace Holloway with Simmonds and suit up as line #3. Richardson is likely to bounce around a lot this season, and it looks as if this was just another opportunity for him to get some work with a couple players he may see some time with during the regular season. The 4th line, with the exception of Westgarth, is a long-shot to make the team, but it is the preseason, and the players deserve a chance to make a point.
There were certainly some positives in the game, including a win (always nice) and the fact that the squad battled back from a 2-0 deficit. Obviously it’s not great to be down 2-0 to begin with, but such is life. With four unanswered goals from Handzus, Zeiler, Richardson and Williams, it looks as if the established players really took it upon themselves to make an impact. Thomas Hickey is another player that appears to have stepped up his game. He managed an assist and a +2 on the night to go along with 4 shots on goal and the 2nd most time on ice (21:05). Peter Harrold filled in as the defensive workhorse, logging a significant 23:01 in the game, but we probably all know he’s unlikely to get that many minutes when the season gets up to speed!
Some negatives? Of course. Going 1 for 10 on the power play isn’t great, and while some people might say that it’s because the team hasn’t had much opportunity to work on the power play, it’s also true that the Avs haven’t had much chance to work on their penalty kill either. That said, the big names on the power play for this season didn’t even play in the game, so it’s not a big worry at the moment.
In all a win is a win, and there are some positives to take from this one. I can’t wait to get the chance to watch a game in person (Colorado is a bit too much of a drive for me). Anyone else have any interesting thoughts on the game? We’ll be back soon with the continuation of our season previews, so check back often!
Topics: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Brad Richardson, Bud Holloway, Colorado Avalanche, Corey Elkins, Jarrett Stoll, John Zeiler, Jordan Nolan, Justin Azevedo, Justin Williams, Kevin Westgarth, Los Angeles Kings, Michal Handzus, Peter Harrold, Scott Parse, Thomas Hickey, Wayne Simmonds