Manor Projected Lineups: LA Kings vs. Minnesota Wild; Full of Faber and Desperation

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There’s quite a bit to unpack in today’s pre-game preview, so let’s get right after it.

For starters, Wednesday will mark a rare back-to-back situation at home, as the Kings will follow-up last night’s victory over Chicago by hosting Minnestoa. Like the game in St. Louis last week, this is a huge matchup when it comes to the standings and possible playoff positioning. The Wild are sitting ninth in the Western Conference and are chasing the Kings and several other clubs for a Wild Card spot. With LA five points ahead of Minnesota, and currently the third seed in the Pacific Division, a win tonight would give some extra breathing room for coach Jim Hiller’s group.

“We’ve played some pretty strong home games [with good] defensive efforts, tonight wasn’t that,” LA’s bench boss said after the team’s victory over Chicago, when asked about the team’s much improved home record (7-2-1) since he took over. “We played, we won, we’ll take the two points and we’ll move on because they’re coming quick and they’re important.”

Just 24 hours later is pretty quick, plus it’s more than just another two points up for grabs — it’s more like a four-point game considering who is involved. In order to get the victory, LA will need to collectively give a more focused and complete effort. As a group, they felt they didn’t play a full 60 minutes on Tuesday night against Chicago. And with Minnesota fighting for their playoff lives right now, they’re expected to come in with plenty of desperation and be a much tougher test.

“It’s going to be a good hockey game, I’m actually looking forward to it,” Hiller added. “They play a pretty defensive brand of hockey; physical, they’re a big team. So, we’re going to have to be ready, emotionally — and probably a little bit more ready emotionally than we were tonight. We’ll come in, we know they’re chasing us, it’s a big game and it’s a physical game. You have to get yourself ready.”

Who will be ready? That’s a great question.

The Kings could be without Alex Turcotte. They could be activating Viktor Arvidsson off LTIR. And it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the could even recall Sammy Fagemo or Akil Thomas for tonight’s game.

We looked into each of those situations here earlier today:



We’re projecting Turcotte to sit out tonight, as there is really no reason to rush him back on a second consecutive night when Arthur Kaliyev can easily slot in. The real question most likely concerns Arvidsson’s availability. What happens at forward, also has an impact on the defense; specifically, on if Jacob Moverare will draw in for the Kings as a seventh defenseman or if he’ll sit out with Hiller opting to return to a 12+6 configuration. We penciled in the latter down below.

Perhaps the only safe assumption heading into tonight’s game is that David Rittich will get the start between the pipes. For his part, he’ll surely be looking to bounce back after a tough start in Dallas over the weekend. At this time of the year, goalies are also looking to show why they should get playing time in the postseason. Although Cam Talbot was selected to this year’s NHL All-Star Game and is generally considered the team’s No. 1 starter, the coaching staff has recently been electing to give Rittich the ‘tougher opponents,’. It could mean nothing in the long run, but it is worth noting in the here and now.

Faber, Fiala, and the Facts


Former Kings prospect Brock Faber was traded to the Wild for Kevin Fiala two summers ago. It was a big swing by Kings GM Rob Blake, and a further sign of his desire to improve the offensive options for his club. At the time, it was thought that Blake made a move out of a position of strength, as the Kings had an abundance of right shot defensemen in the pipeline.

Just the prior summer, we had Faber ranked as LA’s top defensive prospect, sitting fourth overall behind three forwards.

The organization loved Faber too. They were very high on him. Even so, there is something that needs to be said because misinformation continues to circulate among uninformed folks on social media. Faber wasn’t traded because he ‘refused’ to sign with the Kings. Yes, Blake and his staff attempted to sign Faber to a pro contract after his junior season at Minnesota. He wasn’t ready to leave school yet, though. He knew he has something special brewing there and wanted to come back for his senior season, where the Gophers were among the favorites for a National Championship. Having grown up in that area, having an opportunity to be part of something like that can’t be taken lightly.

The myth that he never wanted to play in Los Angeles has long ago been debunked by Faber himself. In fact, he was devastated when the trade first happened. All indications are he had no problem with the Kings and was looking forward to joining the organization — after he took another shot at winning the Frozen Four.

Now, he’s a legitimate Calder Trophy candidate and is showing why he was thought of so highly as a prospect, including the Kings even trading up to get him at the 2020 NHL Draft.

GMs have to give talent to get talent, though. Leaving both organizations hoping they got a player that can help lead them to playoff success.

With two assists last night, Fiala became the first Kings skater to reach the 60-point mark this year and it marks his third campaign with at least 60 points. He also has 22 goals thus far this season, making it five consecutive 20-goal seasons for the Swiss born forward.

Statistically Speaking


— The Kings have points in seven of their last nine games against the Wild at Crypto.com Arena (5-2-2), dating back to Nov. 12, 2019.

— With his trio of points last night, Anze Kopitar now sits at 1,199 career points (415G, 784A). His next point will make Kopitar only the 52nd player in league history, and second Kings skater behind Marcel Dionne (1,307), to record 1,200 career points. He would also join Stan Mikita (Chicago) and Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh) as the third player born outside North America to collect 1,200 career points with one franchise.

— Entering tonight, Kopitar’s 55 points (16G, 39A) ranks fourth all-time in points against the Wild. He has six points (1G, 5A) over his last four games vs. Minnesota.

— Defenseman Drew Doughty skates into tonight with nine points (2G, 7A) in his last eight games against the Wild. Doughty has accumulated 35 points in 53 career games against the Wild, the second-most among any defensemen in league history.

— Quinton Byfield is one goal away from recording his first career 20-goal season. The last Kings player to record at least 20 goals in a season at age 21 or younger was Anze Kopitar in 2008-09.

— The Kings penalty kill has gone 43 straight games without allowing multiple power-play goals, dating back to Dec. 13 vs. Winnipeg. It is the longest such streak in franchise history.

Kings Projected Lineup vs. Wild


Byfield – Kopitar – Kempe
Moore – Danault – Fiala
Laferriere – Dubois – Arvidsson
Lizotte – Lewis – Kaliyev

projected without morning skate, key notes above

Anderson – Doughty
Gavrikov – Roy
Englund – Spence

Rittich (starter)
Talbot

Likely healthy scratches: Moverare, Turcotte

LTIR: Copley, Grundstrom

Key Game Info


Puck drop is set for 7:00 pm Pacific Time and will be televised by Bally Sports.

For those live in attendance, the LA Kings Booster Club will offer their popular ‘Puck for a Buck’ contest — featuring Carl Grundstrom for this game. Just $1 could win you an autographed puck from an NHL star. Visit their table outside sections 317-318 on the upper concourse for more information.

LA Royal Army, another fan support group, has a booth outside section 303. They do watch parties and other fun activities. Stop by and check them out.

Across the Ice


Minnesota is coming off a 4-0 victory in Anaheim on Tuesday.

Here’s how they lined up for that one:

Kaprizov – Hartman – Boldly
Johansson – Rossi – Zuccarello
Foligno – Khusnutdinov – Shaw
Beckman – Lucchini – Gaudreau

Middleton – Faber
Brodin – Bogosian
Chisholm – Merrill

Gustavsson

In their last 10 games, the Wild are 6-2-2. As the away team, they’re 16-15-4 this season.

On This Day in Kings History

On March 20, 1994, Wayne Gretzky scored two goals and tied Gordie Howe as the NHL's all-time leading goal scorer. Gretzky scored his 801st career goal with 49 seconds remaining in regulation in a 6-6 tie between the @LAKings and San Jose Sharks.#LAKings #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/TC6gbNSJW7

— The Kingstorian (@Kingstorian) March 20, 2024


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