Previewing the Los Angeles Kings’ 2012-13 season:
Game 31 vs. Vancouver, March 23, 2013, 1pm PST (4pm EST)
On Saturday afternoon, the Los Angeles Kings close out their five-game homestand against the Vancouver Canucks in a rivalry has arguably become their most intense over the last few years. Unfortunately for those who can’t enough of this rivalry, Saturday will mark the third and final time the Kings and Canucks square off this season with each team winning on home ice. The Kings hope that trend will continue as they hope to stop the Canucks from earning their first three-game winning streak in over a month.
After winning the first three games on their homestand, Los Angeles had a rough time on Thursday night as they got shutout on home ice for the first time since Game 4 of the Western Final last May and they hope to put that behind them as despite the loss, their goaltending and defense were both well up to par.
Should the Canucks hope to win, they would have needed the presence of defenseman Alex Edler who, despite his prowess on the back end, has five goals and 12 assists thus far. Unfortunately for the ‘Nucks, Edler collided with goaltender Mike Smith in Phoenix on Thursday and after a phone hearing from the NHL on Friday, it was announced that the Swedish blueliner would be suspended for two games, which means that he won’t be available in Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon.
While he played very well en route to a 3-2 shootout loss in Los Angeles on January 28, Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo won’t likely get the start this time as Cory Schneider won the next meeting (a 5-2 win in Vancouver on March 2) plus having stopped 65 of 68 shots in his team’s last two games, it shouldn’t come as a shock to see the American backstop get the call for the Canucks again.
While most of the team played well on Saturday, Kings head coach Darryl Sutter admitted that the top line of Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams didn’t play very well versus Dallas on Thursday. In fact, the line was on the ice for both goals they surrendered. Nonetheless, the Kings will need a better effort from their top line should they hope to end their homestand on a positive note.
The 17-11-2 Los Angeles Kings and the 15-9-6 Vancouver Canucks are deadlocked in the West standings with 36 points and while the Kings hope to remain the fourth seed, the Canucks have bigger fish to fry as they hope to take over first in their division (which means #3 in the conference). The Kings have a chance to play spoiler so let’s see if they can capitalize on that opportunity.
Enjoy the game!