Previewing the Los Angeles Kings’ 2012-13 season:
Game 3 @ Edmonton, January 24, 2013, 6:30pm PST (9:30pm EST)
After the drama two summers ago involving Ryan Smyth and GM Steve Tambellini in addition to their now-departed head coach Tom Renney last spring, there’s enough past drama for the Los Angeles Kings to refuel drama with the Edmonton Oilers. In addition, the Oilers and the Kings both have something bigger in common: both are young, promising teams with the boys from Edmonton still out to prove themselves. Tomorrow night’s first meeting of the season between the two teams should provide plenty of excitement.
After allowing six first period goals on Tuesday night against San Jose in their home-opener, the Edmonton Oilers will be entering tomorrow night’s contest determined to get back on the winning track. In addition to veteran Ryan Smyth, the Oilers boast a lineup with the last three first-overall picks (the latter of which, Nail Yakupov, scored his first career goal last game). Tuesday night wasn’t just about Yakupov’s first goal though as celebrated rookie defenseman Justin Schultz also picked up his first-career tally. But so far, it’s another young star, Jordan Eberle, leading the Oilers with a goal and two assists so far – and look for him to be a serious threat when the Kings pay a visit to Rexall Place.
In goal, Devan Dubnyk, who replaced Jonathan Bernier during last month’s Spengler Cup, has taken over for the injured Nikolai Khabibulin and is looking to post better numbers as he enters tomorrow night with a 5.65 GAA and a save percentage of .826.
As for the Kings, they will need to turn things around quickly should they want to compete in the West. While they came out with a better effort last game, it came apart in the third period as they allowed three late goals, losing 3-1 to drop them to 0-2-0 on the season.
Like last season, Los Angeles has been struggling mightily on the power play. They are 0-for-12 thus far with the man-advantage and should they hope to win, they will need to turn their luck around in said department.
While he was better last game, goaltender Jonathan Quick enters tomorrow night’s game with a 4.10 GAA and an .849 save percentage. For a netminder of his calibre, those numbers could be a lot better.
On the plus side, Kyle Clifford has been great for the Kings so far. Leading the way with a goal and two assists, the Big Red Dog is having an easy time showing off his tireless effort to create plays – and I’m confident that will continue in Edmonton.
The Los Angeles Kings will be in tough against a talented team doing as much as they can to explode out of the gate. The Oilers are determined to pick up their first win on home-ice this season and in order to stop them, the Kings have to be more driven to register their first overall win on the campaign. It should be good.
Enjoy the game!