Manor Projected Lineups: LA Kings at Boston Bruins; Looking for Two Straight

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“Woah, we’re halfway there. Woah-oh, livin’ on a prayer.” — Bon Jovi

That song came out on Feb. 14, 1987 – two years before current Kings coach Jim Hiller was drafted by the LA Kings. Although Jon Bon Jovi is from New Jersey, Hiller and his squad just left there — along with the fact Hiller was probably rockin’ out to that tune with that mullet he was sporting back in the day, but we digress…

As LA’s hockey team lands in Boston for the first of a back-to-back weekend set that will seem them play the Bruins on Saturday and then Penguins on Sunday, they’re halfway through their four-game road trip. And they’re definitely more than hoping of coming away with another win.

Can they do it, that’s the question. Well, there’s that one, followed by: ‘Which Kings team will show up?’

Since pivoting to new head coach Jim Hiller, three different teams have shown up for the three games with the team’s former draft pick turned bench boss at the helm. Regardless of how it’s looked or how it happened, the Kings are 2-0-1 since Hiller and took over. For a team being judged by their wins and losses moving forward, they’re just looking to keep the ball rolling right now. Beyond a victory, they’re also hoping to establish some type of consistency, both offensively and defensively. Doing so should lead to more victories than defeats over the final 30 regular seasons games.

They haven’t won back-to-back road games since mid-December. Downing the Atlantic Division leading Bruins would be quite the accomplishment at this point.

Last time out, Thursday vs. the Devils, gave the entire Kings legion a glimmer of hope, in large part thanks to the return of Viktor Arvidsson. Although he didn’t find the scoresheet, he was flying around the ice all night and was one of LA’s most dangerous forwards (including leading all LA skaters with five shots on goal). If he can stay healthy the rest of the way, it would make this team that much more difficult to match up against come playoff time. How much will Hiller play him this weekend? That seems like a fair question coming off a severe injury. Will he start in both games this weekend? That’s probably more a question for tomorrow. For this morning’s game, look for Arvidsson to resume his usual spot alongside Phil Danault and Trevor Moore.

One key aspect of LA’s game that is keeping them afloat in the playoff race is their penalty kill. It’s certainly been a vital part of the team’s DNA; which has been needed, especially due to the Kings taking far too many penalties of late. The kill remains at the top of the league. True to the old adage of ‘the best penalty killer has to be the goaltender,’ David Rittich has risen to the challenge since being recalled from AHL Ontario. Removing the Buffalo game, his numbers have been more than enough to give LA a chance to get two points most nights — hence his 7-2-3 record.

Without a morning skate it remains unclear if Hiller will go back to Rittich for his fourth straight start since taking over as coach. Most likely, whichever goalie gets the nod today — Rittich or Cam Talbot — will give way to the other guy tomorrow afternoon in Pittsburgh.

Statistically Speaking


— When looking at even strength points-per-60 minutes (P/60), here are the Kings leaders: Adrian Kempe (2.6), Quinton Byfield (2.5), and Trevor Moore (2.3). Meanwhile, LA’s P/60 power play leaders are: Kevin Fiala (6.4), Byfield (5.6), and Anze Kopitar (5.0). For more on Byfield’s breakout year, be sure to check out this week’s feature story:



— With Alex Turcotte in the lineup, LA is 3-1-1 this season.

— The Bruins have won only two games all season when tied at intermission, regardless of if that was after 20 or 40 minutes of play. However, when tied after two periods, they’ve earned at least a point in all nine contests, winning six of those games.

— Like the Kings, the Bruins power play is several points better on the road than at home. Conversely, Hiller and the Kings should expect many power play opportunities of their own today, as Boston ranks 26th in the league in penalty minutes taken.

— Could Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman be available in a trade in a few weeks. On the season, the 25-year-old netminder is 16-6-7 on the season with a .921 save percentage. He’s an RFA this coming summer, after completing his current $3.475M deal. Swayman is also arbitration eligible. That’s the tricky part. Is Linus Ullmark more likely to be dealt by the Bruins? He’s 30 years old and still carries a .917 save percentage. That deal is equally as tricky. He’s locked up through the end of next season at a $5M AAV and has a 16-team no trade list.

Kings Projected Lineup vs. Bruins


Byfield – Kopitar – Fiala
Moore – Danault – Arvidsson
Laferriere – Dubois – Kempe
JAD – Turcotte – Lewis

Anderson – Doughty
Gavrikov – Roy
Englund – Clarke

Rittich (starter)
Talbot

Likely scratches: Spence, Kaliyev

Injured: Copley, Grundstrom, Lizotte (all on LTIR)

Key Game Info


Puck drop is set for 9:30 am Pacific Time and will be televised by ABC.

Across the Ice


Boston is coming off a 4-1 defeat against the Kraken on Thursday

Here’s how they lined up for that one:

Marchand – Coyle – Frederic

Debrusk – Zacha – Pastrnak

Riemsdyk – Geekie – Richard

Heinen – Boqvist – Steen

Grzelcyk – McAvoy

Lindholm – Carlo

Forbort – Wotherspoon

Swayman

In their last 10 games, the Bruins are 5-4-1. As the Home team, they’re 17-7-4 this season.

On This Day in Kings History


Almost five years to the day…

On February 16, 2019, Matt Roy made his NHL debut against the Boston Bruins. Roy, who was selected 194th overall in 2015, scored two goals and six points in 25 games in his rookie season with the @LAKings.#LAKings #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/wNNRkkFoX1

— The Kingstorian (@Kingstorian) February 16, 2024


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