Remember when I said before the season that there are just certain games the Kings should expect to win?

This is one of those games.

The Carolina Hurricanes drift into town tonight fresh of a storming of the Shark Tank, where they defeated San Jose 5-2.  That’s double good news for the Kings, the Bay area guppies lost and the immediate threat of the Hurricanes are playing the second night of a back-to-back.

Though the Canes are off to a reasonably good start (3-2-0), when I say this is a game the Los Angeles Kings should expect to win, I say it for several reasons.  While not a pushover opponent, the Kings are a better team this year.  As established last year, the West should and generally does dominate the East.  This is the last night in a home stand before the Kings go on their first real lengthy road trip of the season (5 games in 8 days).

I’ve read a few places that a radio station Cane’s fans supposedly trust has said the Kings will be facing backup goalie Justin Peters in his first appearance of the season.  The 24 year old goalie has 9 NHL games under his belt (all last season).

Meanwhile, the Kings will be getting another start from their own backup goalie, Jonathan Bernier.  We’ve known this since yesterday, when Terry Murray said he would start Quick on Thursday against division rival Phoenix tomorrow night on the road.  Apparently someone at the Associated Press didn’t get the memo… that, or they jumped the gun and wrote their game preview too early…

Here’s that generic AP preview story from the Cane’s website.

The Los Angeles Kings are off to a strong start in 2010-11, and Jonathan Quick is already playing a vital role.

He should be in goal to try and continue his best start to a season when the Kings host the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night.

Los Angeles (3-1-0) is trying to conclude a three-game homestand unbeaten, and will likely need another solid effort from Quick to do so.

Quick has won all three of his games with a 0.97 goals-against average. It’s the best start to a season for a Kings’ netminder since Jason LaBarbera won his first five games in 2005-06.

The lesson here?  Don’t trust the AP.  I kid, they tend to do good work.  Its just not very interesting work.

There will also be changes to the Kings 4th line tonight as Brayden Schenn (sadly) and Kevin Westgarth (finally) come out of the lineup.  They will be replaced by Kyle Clifford and Trevor Lewis, who will get his first ice time of the season playing right wing to center Brad Richardson.  Clifford will patrol the ice on the left.  Tonight’s lineup card should be interesting.

Some keys to the game tonight?

Smyth-Stoll-Williams need to continue the hot streak they started.

Bernier needs to make the most of every start he gets and can’t afford a bad performance or any bad goals.

The battle between Muzzin and Drewiske should heat up tonight as both sense the imminent return of Matt Greene.  They need to use this to their advantage and both bring out the best they have to offer, instead of pressing, gripping their sticks too tightly and generally letting the inevitable cut to come get to their heads in the wrong way.

Anze Kopitar please check your messages.  The back of the net has tried to reach you several times and you haven’t returned any of his calls.

Simmonds, more of this please:

If you aren’t going to score, firing the team up will do as a nice substitute… for now.

Doughty, Johnson – I’m expecting a goal from one of you tonight.  Its time.

Finally, you.  Yeah, you out there.  Get on your feet tonight.  Welcome back David Courtney from his recent marriage, assuming he is back tonight and not on his honeymoon (man that would suck… not his honeymoon… being subjected to that dull cardboard-voiced replacement they had announcing the game against the Canucks).  We love you David and we miss you.  Don’t get any short hairs caught in your throat though… unexpected coughing and retching helps no one.

Always and forever,