Manor Projected Lineups: LA Kings vs. San Jose Sharks; Several Changes Expected


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One down, seven to go!

It’s the final back-to-back situation for the Kings of the 2023-24 season, as they travel up to San Jose on Thursday following a 5-2 victory against Seattle last night in downtown Los Angeles. As will be case quite often over the next few weeks, coach Jim Hiller’s squad is preparing to take on an opponent who sits far out of a playoff spot.

As discussed in detail on the latest Kings of the Podcast episode, LA’s last eight games of the regular season should provide them with a great opportunity at improving and cementing their playoff position. It’s a stretch of games where if they play at their best, they could conceivably go 8-0-0. While recent history may suggest that’s a bit of a long shot, even a 6-2 record will have them playing well heading into Game 83.

Currently, Hiller’s team holds a five-point lead over St. Louis for the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. Perhaps tonight the Kings will do a little scoreboard watching, and here’s why: the Blues are set to take on the Predators. Nashville is in possession of the first Wild Card spot, just one point ahead of Los Angeles. While climbing the standings is important, putting distance between teams behind you often proves to be more valuable at this time of the season. For now, the focus is to get as many points as they can, so that they get as high of a seed as possible.

More playoff talk and what the Kings need to do can be found here:

For tonight’s game against the Sharks, Hiller has already ruled out Phil Danault and we updated the Carl Grundstrom situation here yesterday.

With that in mind, the biggest lineup questions surround going with an 11+7 configuration again and rookie Akil Thomas possibly drawing in.

Essentially, Hiller’s options boil down to (A) keeping the same lineup from last night, (B) sub Thomas in for Arthur Kaliyev, keeping the 11+7 lineup and giving LA a bottom-6 of:

Fiala – Lizotte – Lewis
Thomas – Laferriere

Or (C) Go with only six defensemen, keep Kaliyev in the game, and add Thomas as a 12th forward — which provides:

Fiala – Lizotte – Lewis
Laferriere – Thomas – Kaliyev

Given the Kings typical usage of their fourth line over the past several weeks, it probably has a minimal impact on the game either way. In similar situations, we’d project Hiller to go the 12+6 route more as a means to reduce minutes from his top-6 forwards on the second night of a back-to-back set. However, given the team’s success with 11+7, that likely remains a viable option in San Jose.

David Rittich is expected to start in net after Cam Talbot played last night against Seattle.

Statistically Speaking

— Quinton Byfield is still sitting on 19 goals for the season. Hiller addressed it during his postgame media availability on Wednesday, saying he’ll talk to his young forward about it in advance of the game in San Jose. He wants Byfield to just focus on playing the right way, and the ‘other stuff’ will come.

— The Kings have points in 15 of their 21 matchups against Pacific Division opponents this season (11-6-4).

— Tonight marks the Kings eleventh and final set of back-to-back games this season. Prior to this set, the Kings have gone 13-7-3 in back-to-backs contests (10-1-1 in first game, 3-6-2 in second game).

Kings Projected Lineup vs. Sharks

Byfield – Kopitar – Kempe
Moore – Dubois – Arvidsson
Fiala – Lizotte – Lewis
Thomas – Laferriere

NOTE: no morning skate today, lineup implications explained above

Anderson – Doughty
Gavrikov – Roy
Englund – Spence

Talbot (starter)

Possible scratches: Danault, Kaliyev

LTIR: Copley (out for the year), Grundstrom (eligible to return when medically cleared), Turcotte (min. April 12)

Key Game Info

Puck drop is set for 7:30 pm Pacific Time and will be televised by Bally Sports.

Across the Ice

San Jose is coming off a 4-2 defeat by Seattle on Monday.

Here’s how they lined up for that one:




In their last 10 games, the Sharks are 1-8-1. As the home team, they’re 10-22-4 this season.

On This Day in Kings History

On April 4, 1968, the @LAKings recorded their first postseason win in their first playoff appearance at The Fabulous Forum. Eddie Joyal scored the first playoff goal in #LAKings' history, and Terry Sawchuk made 30 saves in a 2-1 win against the Minnesota North Stars.#GoKingsGo

— The Kingstorian (@Kingstorian) April 4, 2024


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