LA Kings vs. Wild: Odds, What to watch for, Lineups, TV and more

LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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LA Kings Jonathan Quick
LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

LA Kings items to watch for

1. How will the Kings third pairing fare

While the Kings will unveil the new first pairing of Olli Maatta and Drew Doughty, the third pairing took a hit this week with both Kurtis MacDermid and Sean Walker deemed unfit to play. General manager Rob Blake spoke with the media on Wednesday, indicating both players could clear NHL protocol on Friday, which would make them available for the second game of this two-game set on Saturday.

Regardless if Kale Clague or Tobias Bjornfot get the nod on the left side — likely paired with Mark Alt — there’s not much NHL experience there.

2. Will Jonathan Quick avoid a bad start

It’s no secret that Jonathan Quick had a horrific opening month last season. The 34-year-old recorded a .858 SV%, allowing 36 goals in eight games. Quick flirted with career norms as the season progressed, but the Kings also mixed in Jack Campbell and Cal Petersen after Campbell was traded. Los Angeles will not have Petersen to back Quick on Thursday, so they’ll need their future Hall-of-Fame netminder to play well.

Rob Blake spoke highly about how Quick has approached this year.

“He’s a professional, he shows up, and he does his job,” said Blake on Wednesday. “You can see him get his game better and better down the stretch. He put a lot of work in the off time and then a little coming into camp and then, you know, right through this training camp, you know, the work ethic and the ability had gotten better and better, more focused into the game. But like a lot of players see, he doesn’t have the two or three exhibition games.”

Petersen and Quick are expected the share time in net this season. Quick can get off on the right foot with a strong showing against the Wild.

3. Can the Kings get scoring outside of the first line

The LA Kings first line will be the only constant from last season. There’s no reason to believe that that combination of Iafallo-Kopitar-Brown still can’t produce at a high level. The questions lie behind them in what could ultimately decide if the Kings have another lottery pick. Andreas Athanasiou was added late in the offseason to help the team score more goals. What he lacks defensively, he makes up for offensively, and he’s two years removed from scoring 30 goals.

The third line has the potential to produce significant points. Martin Frk is out with a lower-body injury, so the combination of Kempe-Vilardi-Wagner will have to gel quickly. There’s a lot to like about that line, especially with Calder Trophy candidate Gabe Vilardi, who scored seven points in ten games to close out the 19-20 season. He’s healthy and ready to prove why he was the 11th overall pick in 2017.

Game On.