With Simmonds not on the road trip, Kevin Westgarth takes a spot in the lineup over Peter Harrold. Changes are in bold.
After Simmonds went out last game, Brown took most of the shifts with Sturm and Stoll. They played well, but I worry that the Richardson line is too young now. Also, this sort of destroys any semblance of a 2, 3 and 4th line. This looks like one second line and two fourth lines, as opposed to our usual two third lines (or two second lines, for the optimistic), and one fourth line.
I find myself very comfortable with Handzus sliding into a fourth line role. In the past we have relied on offensive output from Handzus that he simply has not really shown this year. He has scored some big goals, and as we saw Saturday will still receive a regular powerplay shift on the 2nd unit (which lately seems to be the 1st unit). Diminished ice time on the fourth line lets Handzus focus primarily on what he still does very well, play defense. Let us pray that Westgarth and Handzus do not face too many speedy players on the Stars as our two slowest players now occupy the same line.
The Richardson line should provide energy, but it remains to be seen if they can score. Presumably this will be more of a shut down line, but these guys need to spend time cycling to be effective. The upside here is speed. If they can chip pucks properly without hesitation, this line can easily get in behind the Stars’ defense, so long as they are willing to pay the price for such transgressions.
Sturm-Stoll-Brown is a vet line who will be looked upon to score some goals. This line also has speed to burn. We will find out tonight if Sturm and Stoll’s increased level of play the last few games was of their own accord or a result of the infusion of young blood in Simmonds. With any luck, tonight will prove it to be the former.
To check out how the lines have progressed just over halfway through the season, a reminded to check out the constantly updated lineup card.
Big game tonight.
Will the Kings regress instantly to what has become their typical discord, or will a true turnaround commensurate? While not a “must-win” in the same manner as a few of the last games have been, it is very important for this apparently fragile team to put a real winning streak together. My faith is slowly restoring, my soul yearns for the boost of pulverizing our Pacific division rival. To shake their identities as hard as fanciful hippies were by the shifting of the Zodiac. To knock these Stars right out of the sky and pummel them into the ground return them to the noxious gas from whence they spawned.
They are due for a fall from grace.
We are due to rise in the sky once again.
Always and forever,
GO KINGS GO!