Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 season:
Game 17 vs. Vancouver
November 9, 2013
7pm PST (10pm EST)
With the new divisional format in place this season, 2013-14 marks a special time for those teams being re-introduced as division rivals - and the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks fit that bill to a T.
With they have had a healthy rivalry sharing each occupying the Smythe Division during the 80s and 90s, the Kings-Canucks saga has only become most exciting over the last few years. On Saturday night on FoxSports West and across Canada on CBC, they will meet for the first time as division rivals once again.
Saturday marks the first of five meets between the Kings and Canucks with both teams making their mark in this early season.
Los Angeles is hoping for better success against Vancouver this year as they lost two of three to the Canucks last season including their most recent meeting, a 1-0 loss to the boys from BC on March 23.
The Canucks are 11-5-2 so far and their 24 points is good enough for a three-way tie for second in the Pacific with Phoenix and San Jose. At 10-6-0, the Kings are four points behind Vancouver and just two behind the Minnesota Wild who hold that second and final wild card spot.
Saturday will also mark the first time the Kings welcome former teammate Brad Richardson back to Staples Center.
Richardson, who spent the last four seasons with the silver-and-black, is off to a great start with his new team having scored five goals and four assists to go along with a +5 rating in 18 games.
For a team who’s had their share of trouble scoring, the Kings will be in tough against Roberto Luongo who has allowed two goals or fewer in his last six starts while going 7-1-2 in his last 10 outings.
While the Canucks are coming off a big 4-2 win against San Jose, the Kings are also coming off a Thursday night win, 2-0 over Buffalo.
While their offense didn’t exactly light up Staples Center, Los Angeles’s exceptional defense was front-and-center which included killing off all four penalties against them – a feat they haven’t been able to accomplish much this season. In goal, Jonathan Quick was flawless. In his 300th-career game, Quick stopped all 19 shots he faced against the Sabres to pick up his 26th-career shutout.
While the team overall may not be scoring goals at will, Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards are each on their own hot streaks. Both are riding three-game point streaks with Kopitar scoring three goals and adding two assists while Richards has two goals and a pair of assists during said stretch.
On the injury front, Jarret Stoll continues to be day-to-day with an upper-body injury while Jeff Carter will be out of the lineup as well as he continues to nurse a lower-body injury. As for the Canucks, Dale Weise, Jannik Hansen and David Booth are all expected to be out of the lineup with the latter going through a conditioning assignment in the AHL.
As accustomed as the Kings are to seeing the Canucks lo these few years, they will be seeing a new face behind the opposing bench as Alain Vigneault was replaced by the always-popular and ever-truculent John Tortorella during the off-season. This will be Torts’s first taste of this intense rivalry. How he will fare will be on determined on Saturday night.
Enjoy the game!