KINGS @ AVALANCHE GAME PREVIEW
You know him. You love him. Tonight, the Av’s forwards will regret seeing him.
Greene will play his first game of the season tonight after recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. The wrecking ball that he is, Matt has already left Jake Muzzin in his wake, knocking Muzz out of the lineup for the first time this season. We must also credit Peter Harrold, who will remain in uniform, as he was one of the few Kings’ who was not an eye sore in their last game against Phoenix, a 4-2 loss.
Thusly, the defensive pairings will see their first major shake-up as Harrold drops down to play with Drewiske and Matt Greene steps by the side of Willie Mitchell. Presumably the Johnson-Scuderi pairing becomes the de facto top pairing, both an exciting and a scary prospect. Scuderi has been, for my money, the Kings’ best defenseman early in the season. Johnson on the other hand has displayed the skills of an all-star hockey player scrunched in between stretches of the mediocre and the abysmal. Johnson is a big game player, as we saw in the playoffs and Olympics, so lets just cross our fingers that he sees this opportunity to be no less glamorous.
Up front, nothing will change.
What about the team we left leaving Las Vegas with sad little snowy faces?
Well, for starters here are some words from Adrian Dater, who is essentially the Rich Hammond of Colorado. Only this Rich Hammond has video of the Kings’ practice in Denver. A nice touch, despite his apparent palsy. There is also a video interview with Terry Murray, so please check out this Denver Post link to read the rest of the article and see the videos.
The Avs last night recalled D-man David Liffiton from Lake Erie, but he won’t play tonight. The Avs will go back to six D-men against the Kings. We’re not sure who will play with Kyle Cumiskey in Adam Foote’s absence. Joe Sacco said he was still tinkering with his pairings a little.
Foote, by the way, will be re-evaluated Monday and a determination will be made then if he’ll go on the road trip with the team. His concussion does not appear to be overly serious, but again that’s preliminary.
Avs need good games from Stastny and Duchene tonight, some points anyway. When a reporter (me) asked Sacco this morning whether he expected a bounce-back game from Duchene tonight after a three-penalty showing against the Sharks, he said “I thought he played well. Other than the penalties, I thought he was good.”
Well, OK then. That falls into the category somewhat of “Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?”, but whatever.
Though we like Mr. Dater, we also would like to beat him and his team quip-less.
Some keys to beating the Av’s:
- Be nasty. This Av’s team will take a lot of penalties if you push the right buttons. Wayne Simmonds, Kevin Westgarth, I’m looking at you two. Although if the first six games were any indicator, I should be looking at Brad Richardson and Brayden Schenn to stir things up. If only we could infuse the whole team with the fire of Richardson.
- Don’t be afraid to calm the game down. Greene will help in this regard as he will typically make the safer pass to his partner instead of the immediate transitions the Kings were caught forcing in the last two games.
- Two mediocre performances by Kopitar in a row is absolutely unacceptable at any time of the year. They must be flukes, never trends.
- Watch out for Chris Stewart. Stand up to him and don’t give him room to operate.
- Keep Stastny on the perimeter.
- Pepper Anderson, the rebounds will be plentiful.
5-2, here we come.
GO KINGS GO!