Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 season:
Game 43 vs. Vancouver
January 4, 2014
7pm PST (10pm EST)
After soaring through much of November and December, the Los Angeles Kings find themselves in the midst of their biggest slump of the season having lost five-straight with their most recent loss coming in disastrous fashion in St. Louis on Thursday night. But despite the recent slide, the Kings are still third in the Pacific as they host a Vancouver Canucks team who trail them by a single point.
Saturday will mark the third of five meetings between these divisional rivals with the Kings winning the first two meetings, most recently a 3-2 overtime victory in Vancouver on November 25. The last time these clubs met in Los Angeles was on November 9 by a 5-1 score. En route to said victory, Tyler Toffoli celebrated his first multi-goal game in the NHL while the team chased Roberto Luongo from the net.
Speaking of Luongo, he has been sidelined since December 22 with a lower-body injury. But after practicing vigorously over the last few days, it appears that Luongo could return to the lineup on Saturday at Staples. Even if Luongo doesn't make his return against the Kings, the silver-and-black would still have to deal with a quality netminder in Eddie Lack - and that certainly isn't promising considering the team's offensive struggles as of late.
As for Los Angeles's goaltending situation, it appears as though Jonathan Quick is very close to returning to the lineup. There have been suggestions that Quick may return to the lineup on Saturday but few expect No. 32 to be back in the net that soon. Nevertheless, a return by Quick, who has been injured since November 12, would certainly be a pick-me-up for the Kings, even if goaltending hasn't been much of an issue during the team's recent slump.
The Canucks are 6-2-2 in their last 10 so while Los Angeles has had success against them this season, don't expect the Canucks to be pushovers in this one.
In addition to being aired on FoxSports West with Bob Miller and Jim Fox, the Kings/Canucks contest can be seen across Canada as the latter game of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada double feature.
The Los Angeles Kings are simply looking for a win and hopefully a date with a heated rival will give them just that.
Enjoy the game!