Manor Projected Lineups: LA Kings at Florida Panthers; Questions Need to be Answered

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There’s an old saying that ‘all good things must come to an end.’

For Kings coach Todd McLellan and his group, they’re likely asking the opposite right now. Must all bad things come to an end?

The last six games have yet to result in a win for LA. And without a victory for all their efforts, perhaps there is not as much confidence in the room as there once was. While McLellan dismissed this notion after Tuesday’s loss in Tampa Bay, the fact of the matter is, something needs to change… and quickly. Thursday night, the Kings will have yet another opportunity to turn things around when they take on the defending Eastern Conference Champion Florida Panthers.

Few things seem to be clicking for LA lately. Individual mistakes are killing them, the power play has gone dark, the penalty kill has started to slide, and the goaltending has not been as crisp as it was during the first two months of their 2023-24 campaign. Nearing the midway point of the season, opponents know and understand what the Kings are struggling with – including holding on to leads, especially late in games. Recent line combination shuffling did not prove to be effective, and rotating defensive pairs also may have contributed to some of the confusion that resulted in pucks landing in the back of their net.

Big picture, the Kings are still holding down a playoff spot in the Pacific Division. Thus, panic hasn’t set in just yet. Concern? Sure, that’s fair, considering LA was a top-three team for so long out the gate. Now, they’re struggling to find their game again.

Pregame Listening


Many of the issues currently dogging LA, along with some suggestions for change, were broken down in detail on all new Kings Of The Podcast episode yesterday:



Statistically Speaking


— History is on the Kings side, as they carry a six-game winning streak against the Panthers into tonight’s game. They’ve also outscored Florida 22-15 in that span. Perhaps even more impressive, it’s the longest active winning streak against Florida among any team in the league.

— After earning a 2-1 victory in LA back on Nov. 16, a win tonight would allow the Kings to sweep their season series with the Panthers for the third consecutive campaign.

— The Kings have successfully killed their last 18 consecutive shorthanded situations against the Panthers. That’s come over a five-game stretch, dating back to Dec. 16, 2021.

— LA skates into South Florida with a league-best 87.6% penalty-killing percentage (PK%) this season, allowing just three power-play goals in their last 28 shorthanded situations. Across 37 games this season, the Kings have allowed a league-low 14 power-play goals on 113 shorthanded situations. This type of success doesn’t happen often. Only 12 other teams in the last 20 seasons have allowed 14 or fewer power-play goals though their first 37 games to start a season.

— Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk recorded a third period hat trick in the team’s last game on Thursday. He helped propel Florida to their eighth straight victory.

— One of the keys to beating Florida is to not let them have a lead going into intermission. When leading after 20 minutes this season, the Panthers are 14-0-2. When leading after two periods, they’re an impressive 19-0-1 (even if it’s tied after two periods, they’re still 6-1-1). Conversely, when Florida is trailing after 40 minutes, they have just one win in 12 tries.

— Teams have been able to slow down the Panthers attack in the second period. Their goals scored by period are 41-34-54. For a team that really seems to slow down in the middle frame, they’ve scored the majority of their goals in the third period this season. When do the Kings give up the most goals? It’s actually in the second period. Their goals allowed by period this season is 21-36-30.

— Special Teams: LA has the league’s 4th best power play on the road (28.1) and Florida’s power play at home is 25.0 (ranked 8th). The Kings also have the better road penalty kill at 84.6% (8th best), compared to the Panthers 79.5% at home (ranked 17th).

— Overall, the Kings hold a 26-14-0 record vs. the Panthers. Three other games ended it ties, back when that was a thing.

— It’s ’90s night in Florida, so the team will wear a special throwback Panthers shoulder patch. They also have Montell Jordan signed up to sing the national anthem and perform at intermission. He had a huge No. 1 hit in 1995 with ‘This Is How We Do It.’

Kings Projected Lineup vs. Panthers


Byfield – Kopitar – Kempe
Fiala – Danault – Moore
Laferriere – Dubois – Kaliyev
Grundstrom/JAD – Lizotte – Lewis

Anderson – Doughty
Gavrikov – Roy
Englund – Spence

Talbot (starter)
Rittich

Likely scratches: Anderson-Dolan, Clarke

Injured: Arvidsson (LTIR), Copley (LTIR)

No lineup changes for LAK from Tampa game per TM in Sunrise tonight.

— Dennis Bernstein (@DennisTFP) January 11, 2024


Key Game Info


Puck drop is set for 4:00 pm Pacific Time and will be televised by Bally Sports.

Across the Ice


Florida is coming off a 5-1 victory in St. Louis on Thursday.

Here’s how they lined up for that one:

Rodrigues – Barkov – Reinhart
Verhaeghe – Bennett – Tkachuk
Luostarinen – Lundell – Lomberg
Gadjovich – Stenlund – Lockwood

Forsling – Ekblad
Mikkola – Montour
Ekman-Larsson – Kulikov

Bobrovsky in net, per Maurice.

No other lineup changes.

— Jameson Olive (@JamesonCoop) January 11, 2024


Over their last 10 games, the Panthers are 8-2-0. At home, they hold an 12-5-0 record this season.

On This Day in Kings History

Happy birthday to former @LAKings defenseman Brent Thompson, who was born on January 9, 1971.#LAKings #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/2yfHO5hTFD

— The Kingstorian (@Kingstorian) January 9, 2024


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