The Los Angeles Kings will have their home opener tonight at the Staples Center against the New York Rangers. The puck is set to drop at 10:30 PM Eastern Time and will be televised on Fox Sports West.
The Kings come home from a mini road trip to Minnesota and Winnipeg. LA split the 2 game trip with a shootout win in Minnesota and a hard fought loss in Winnipeg. The Kings had strong stretches in both games, but there is still room to improve. Jeff Carter’s knack to find the back of the net was on display as he scored in both games. The backline for the Kings was strong in their opener, clamping down to hold the Wild to only 6 shots total in 3rd period and overtime. However, game 2 was a different story as the defense allowed countless outnumbered counter attacks and was on its heels countless times during the game. The Kings now come back home and will surely feed off the crowd and look to make a statement in its home opener.
As for the New York Rangers they have only played one game thus far and that was Thursday night in Phoenix vs. the Coyotes. The Rangers were thoroughly dominated the whole game and lost 4 to 1. Defensiveman Marc Staal scored the lone goal for New York. The Rangers are looking to improve on last season’s finish of 6th in the Eastern Conference. John Tortorella was fired as coach and replaced with former Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. There was not much turnover in the roster and they will instead look for the players they have now to mesh better under Vigneault. The Rangers are led by star winger Rick Nash and highly rated defensiveman Ryan McDonagh.
The Kings and Rangers did not play each other last year due to the lockout shortened season. Their last meeting was back in the 2011-2012 season with the Kings prevailing 3 to 2 in overtime. LA will be looking to do better in this season’s home opener since last year they were routed by the Chicago Blackhawks 5 to 2. The 2 players to watch in this game are the goaltenders, Jonathan Quick and Henrik Lundqvist. Both goalies will be starting for their respective countries in the upcoming Olympics and will be looked at to keep their net clean. The keys in this game will first be the power play for the Kings as they have scored 4 of their 5 goals off power plays. As for the Rangers it will be if their defense can hold up against the high powered offense of the Kings. The Staples Center will surely be rocking as the Kings will look to make a statement to the rest of the league.