The Golden Knights and Kings take the ice tonight for a contest between two of the top franchises in the Pacific Division. The first drop of the puck is scheduled for 10:30 p.m. ET in downtown Los Angeles at the Staples Center. NHL Free Preview and Pick: Vegas at Los Angeles.
The Vegas Golden Knights own the top spot in the Pacific while the Los Angeles Kings (-110, 6) sit in the middle of the division. The Kings are two points shy of the final postseason slot in the Western Conference behind both the Calgary Flames and the St Louis Blues.
William Karlsson scored two of the Knights’ six goals in the club’s 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night. The Kings fell by a 4-3 score to the recently resurgent Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. First place Vegas, in both the Pacific and Western Conference overall, is feeling the pressure of the Nashville Predators. Both the Knights and the Preds have accumulated 85 points so far this season and are tied atop the West. Vegas will introduce newbie Ryan Reaves tonight. Reaves was acquired from Pittsburgh in a three-team trade over the weekend. The physical style of the former Pen has accrued 84 penalty minutes in 58 games this season.
The Knights have some player personnel issues for tonight’s affair. Both James Neal and defenseman Shea Theodore have missed three and four contests, respectively, due to illness and injury. Netminder Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to start in goal tonight.
The host Kings have returned their leading scorer from last season, Jeff Carter, who returned to the ice after missing 55 games because of a torn tendon in his left ankle. Carter was productive in Saturday’s loss to the Oilers. He registered a plus-1 rating in 17:36 of ice time. The Kings are as healthy as they have been all season. Only C Trevor Lewis (Upper Body) is a question mark tonight. The Kings announced they will push starting goaltender Jonathan Quick in net for this Monday contest.
And while the Vegas front office and coaching staff have upgraded the playing status of Neal to probable tonight at the Staples Center reports are he will be limited after missing a trio of events to the flu.
In conclusion the LA Kings take home ice and remain focused at earning a postseason slot in the upcoming Sir Stanley tournament with a decisive win over Vegas tonight.
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NHL Free Preview and Pick: Vegas at Los Angeles