LA Kings: McLellan suggests roster could be in flux for Avalanche finale

LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports) /

With the LA Kings canceling practice on Saturday, head coach Todd McLellan indicated the lines are too difficult to determine for Sunday’s game.

As if Friday night’s drubbing at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche wasn’t bad enough, the LA Kings have another challenge to deal with. According to head coach Todd McLellan, Saturday’s practice was canceled due to several players feeling under the weather.

“Our team right now is going through an illness going through the team,” McLellan said on Saturday. “I don’t believe it’s COVID-related. It’s just winter-related.”

Before Friday’s 2-0 loss against the Avs, the Kings were notified that Olli Maatta landed on the NHL’s COVID protocol list while goalie Cal Petersen was activated from said list. Left-winger Alex Iafallo was also a scratch from the lineup, dealing with the illness that’s now caught up with the rest of the team.

“Obviously, those two players didn’t play yesterday — Olli and Alex,” McLellan continued. “Alex [Iafallo] seems to be a little better, Olli not. Now there’s a group of other players that have woke up not feeling real good. So out of precautions…We didn’t practice today. We kept everybody away from each other. And we’ll play tomorrow without a pregame skate. That’s all we can do.”

With Iafallo out of the lineup, Adrian Kempe was bumped up to the first line with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. Kempe has been on fire as of late but doing so from the bottom six-forwards. He was quiet, as was the rest of the team, obviously, on Friday, and it appears that any line changes may not be known until Sunday morning.

“I don’t think we can deal with assumptions where we’re at right now. We’ll wake up tomorrow morning and see who we have available to us. All the players on the taxi squad and all the players on the roster that exist right now on this trip are going to be made available, and we’ll see who we have,” said McLellan.

The Kings were overwhelmed with Colorado’s speed and forecheck, outshot 46-18, and they couldn’t get anything going on all three of their powerplay chances. Obviously, losing any additional starters in Sunday’s finale could be detrimental. Not to mention Sunday is a back-to-back, as the Kings will host the St. Lous Blues on Monday night.