Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 season:
Game 16 vs. Buffalo
November 7, 2013
7:30pm PST (10:30pm EST)
After five days off, the Los Angeles Kings are back to work on Thursday night when they play host to the lowly Buffalo Sabres. On paper, it should be a relatively easy two points for the Kings. Unfortunately, nothing is won on paper - and that's especially true for the silver-and-black who, just a couple weekends ago, had the most difficult time scoring against an Edmonton Oilers known this year for their lacklustre goaltending. Nevertheless, the Kings hope a win on Thursday will give them some much-needed momentum, even if it is against the league's worst team.
While it is still early in the season, the Kings do have a lot to lose (in the short-term at least). The Sabres enter Staples Center with a 3-13-1 mark, good enough for last overall. In fairness, the are coming off a shootout win in Anaheim so while they do have a bigger hill to climb, the Sabres are looking for some momentum just like their opponents.
While he is a -6, Cody Hodgson leads the way in scoring for Buffalo with five goals and eight assists in 17 games while the newest Sabre (and former King) Matt Moulson has two goals and four assists thus far. It'll be interesting to see how Jonathan Quick fares against his brother-in-law.
While the Kings still need to be disciplined and stay out of the penalty box, they can take some consolation knowing that the Sabres have a disappointing 13.7% rating with the man-advantage, which is good enough for 23rd overall. Buffalo's penalty-kill, meanwhile, is better as they are ranked 12th overall at 84.2%.
After an opening month where they had a clean bill of health, the injury bug has caught up with the Kings a bit. Jeff Carter has since been placed on injured reserve with a foot injury while Jarret Stoll, who is day-to-day with an upper body injury, was not at practice on Wednesday. Defenseman Matt Greene was even banged up, missing practice himself.
Enough time has passed and I'm sure Kings fans miss seeing their boys play. Hopefully, they will get to see a positive result from Thursday heading into the weekend.
Enjoy the game!