Preview 4/12 – Fast and Changes + What’s Needed, Roy’s Return & Left Side, McLellan on Doughty

WHO: Los Angeles Kings (38-26-10) @ Chicago Blackhawks (24-37-11)
WHEN: Tuesday, April 12 at 17.30 Pacific
WHERE: United Center – Chicago, IL
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: KCOP-13 – AUDIO – iHeart Radio – TWITTER: @DooleyLAK & @LAKings

EVENING MATCHUP: The Kings continue on their road trip in three games this evening with the season’s only visit to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks.

HEAD TO HEAD: The Kings are 0-0-1 this season against Chicago thanks to a defeat in the shootout in the first game in Los Angeles. In the head-to-head showdown, defender Sean Durzi counted three assists, while striker Phillip Danault had two goals. Tonight’s matchup is the first between the teams in the United Center since October 27, 2019, a span of 898 days.

KINGS VITALS: The Kings participate in tonight’s competition on a three-game losing streak, extended with the 6-3 defeat in Minnesota on Sunday.

Goalkeeper Jonathan Quick did not skate this morning and is therefore expected to start tonight against Chicago. All-time, Quick is 13-16-2 against the Blackhawks, with a 0.911 save percentage and a 2.65 goal-versus average.

Todd McLellan’s quote after training yesterday gave us an indication that the Kings could make a few lineup changes tonight in Chicago. From today’s morning skate, it looks like the trio Dustin Brown, Alex Edler and Arthur Kaliyev could return to the ranks, with Tobias Bjornfot, Carl Grundstrom and Brendan Lemieux all on the ice for extra work with Lias Andersson, Jacob Moverare and Austin Strand.

Without formal line-rushes today, it is still unknown how the Kings line up tonight, though Kaliyev may be queuing for a top-six opportunity where Brown enters the bottom six. Noble’s deployment might mix the pairings up a bit, but his veteran-savvy and reassuring presence will be a welcome bonus for the Kings, no matter where he plays.

BLACKHAWKS VITALS: Chicago has lost seven games in a row by going into tonight’s action, including a 6-4 defeat against Dallas last Sunday. The Blackhawks have three stretches of six or more consecutive defeats this season.

Goalkeeper Colin Delia is expected to start tonight in Chicago, with Rancho Cucamonga, CA native in line for his second start of the season against the Kings. Delia made 43 saves on 46 shots when the teams met at the Arena last month, his first and only win of the season to date.

The team is not expected to make any changes to the attacking position, although defenders Caleb Jones and Alec Regula are expected in front of defenders Calvin de Haan and Erik Gustafsson. Per Charlie Roumeliotis from NBC Sports Chicago, here’s how the Blackhawks lined up last time.

Defender Connor Murphy is on a long-term injury reserve while striker Jujhar Khiara is out of season after back surgery.

Notes –

Playing their game
When asked this morning about adjustments, lineup changes, etc. that the Kings could make tonight, Todd McLellan placed the burden on the team. The Kings need to do certain things well to be successful, and it starts tonight in Chicago. Two unedited quotes below with McLellan’s full thoughts on the situation.

About what he could be looking for from all the players inserted in the row tonight
Right now, we’re looking for four lines and six, confident defenders. We must return to what we do well. We have conceded 26 goals in our last seven games, only two were on penalty kicks, that is not who we are. If we are to get to where we all want to go, it cannot continue, it must change, it must return to where it is. We are looking for a number of players that we can trust to check and defend well first. This may sound strange, since we’ve been hunting offensively for years in our organization, our powerplay has not been really strong, but right now we need to rely on players to play situations as they know how and as they can.

On a need to see simplicity from those who play, play to their and the team’s strengths
It is human nature to try to do more. Sean Durzi, for example. When Durz came up, he played really well, he still plays really well for us, but I believe he will do a little more. As soon as you take on more, you sometimes give up something on the other side of it. I’m not [singling out] Sean Durzi, I’m just using him as an example because his minutes have increased to 26, 27 at night. Just do what you do within our structure. We are not reinventing the game at this time of year, we are not changing anything. We have 16, 17 days left of the regular season. We know what to do, we’ve been doing it all year, do it now. You no longer have to deal with anything else, it fixes itself. Yes, I think guys in stressful situations try to do more and it hurts us.

The Kings know what got them there, and with two and a half weeks left here in the regular season, they know what to do to find success in their last eight games.

Roy on the right, Roy on the left
The Kings welcomed back defender Matt Roy to the lineup Thursday against Edmonton.

His first period aside – which was “shocking” in his own words – Roy is starting to fall back on the stable, reliable defender we’ve come to know in his nearly 200 games at the NHL level. The reservation for Roy lately has been a transition to the left, to accommodate the long-term absence of Mikey Anderson and turned up status as Alex Edler.

Why did McLellan Roy choose that spot? His experience in the system simply made him the best solution.

“On the left side, it’s not ideal for him, you can see it’s a little foreign to him based on how we play, but he’s the longest serving person we have who has played in the system he should be. able to pick it up pretty quickly. We see positive signs of that. “

Roy noticed the differences there earlier today. He said there is a relatively even distribution of the differences between the offensive and defensive zones. At the offensive end, one of the biggest differences comes from keeping the puck inside the point, being on the backhand as opposed to the forehand. Defensive play offers different challenges, with the angles you take, different turns, and which side of the stick the puck is on when trying a clearing.

“It’s just a different positioning, different twists you might not be used to, just different looks of eruptions and stuff like that, minor adjustments,” he said. “It’s been a little more comfortable for every match.”

Roy has previously skated situationally to the left, but rarely in a longer stretch of 5-on-5. Often last season, when the Kings were behind in the third period, McLellan would densify the bench and move Roy along with Drew Doughty on a pair that could potentially create more offensive production.

As he gets more and more minutes there, of necessity, he only gets better and more comfortable.

“I thought my first period in my first game back was a bit shaky, but after I got a foothold and got used to the move, it was just about adapting to the left side that I have played,” he explained. . “I think as each menstruation has gone, I have become a little more comfortable.”

Roy’s value to the team has always been documented by McLellan and his staff, and it may never have been higher than it is right now.

With Doughty out of season Anderson on long-term injury reserve and Edler inside and out with injury over the last few weeks, the Kings need stability, leadership and defensive play in the backend. All three qualities that Roy brings to the table.

“If we’re going where we want to go over the next two weeks, he’s going to play a big role in that, especially on the defensive side, the penalty side,” McLellan said. “When he plays a little more, he will continue to improve.”

Not how you drew it up
Some news that came out yesterday afternoon, Insiders, was the season-ending wrist surgery for defender Drew Doughty.

“For us, our group, we’ve seen this coming, so it’s not a shock to the 26 players on our roster right now, the staff, probably even some of the media people who follow us,” McLellan said this morning. “It’s not a ‘oh what just happened’ moment, but it’s a moment where there’s some closure on it now and we are not going to see him until training camp next year and there is no hope about him coming back.The cavalry is not getting there.It would have been nice to have him, we could have really used his skills all over the ice but also his veteran presence.He plays 27, 28 minutes a night and our defensive game is not where it should be, and that’s his specialty. We’ve missed him, and we’ll miss him. “

By the trade deadline, General Manager Rob Blake said the organization would exhaust all possible steps before going a route that excluded Doughty for the season. And that’s not surprising given his status as the team’s number one defender and his ability to log heavy minutes effectively in all situations.

These steps came to a public conclusion yesterday, with Doughty undergoing successful wrist surgery, ending his 2021-22 season. After a career that has been almost completely healthy, Doughty sustained a couple of serious injuries. A knee injury in late October cost Doughty much of the first half of the season, with the wrist injury taking his last 24 games and any potential action after the season.

A tough finish to what was becoming Norris’ Trophy caliber campaign for Doughty.

Without Doughty, but with the group that has been here, the Kings visit the Blackhawks tonight for yet another huge battle on the road. Puck drop is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Pacific from United Center!

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