Tonight marks the fifth and final meeting with the Canucks this season and the Kings’ second of two visits to Vancouver’s Rogers Arena. The Canucks have returned from a two-game Southern California road trip where they went a perfect 2-0-0 for a one-game stint on home ice; they’re coming off of a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night. The Kings are playing the first of a two-game road trip through Western Canada; they’re coming off of a 3-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Saturday afternoon.
LINEUP: The Kings held a morning skate at Rogers Arena in anticipation of tonight’s game. Kris Versteeg skated on the first line alongside Tanner Pearson and Anze Kopitar. Alec Martinez was not on the ice; his status is “day-to-day”. Nick Shore, Nic Dowd and Kevin Gravel stayed out for extra work and are the presumed healthy scratches. Jamie McBain looks to return to the lineup for the first time since February 25. Jonathan Quick left the ice first and is expected to start in net.
PEARSON – KOPITAR – VERSTEEG
LUCIC – CARTER – TOFFOLI
KING – LECAVALIER – BROWN
CLIFFORD – LEWIS – ANDREOFF
(SHORE – DOWD)
MCNABB – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – SCHENN
SCUDERI – MCBAIN
MARTINEZ OUT: Defenseman Alec Martinez, who did not partake in the Kings’ morning skate, will be out of tonight’s lineup, missing his first game of the season. In 78 games this year, Martinez has registered 31 points (10G, 21A), 164 hits, 182 blocked shots, averaging 21:09 minutes of ice-time per game. Martinez has been deemed day-to-day and is with the team on their two-game road trip.
BLUE-LINE SECURITY: Kevin Gravel was recalled from the Ontario Reign on Sunday to help the Kings trudge through a few bumps and bruises on their defensive corps. Brayden McNabb, who received three-to-four stitches to the face after taking a high-stick on Saturday, isn’t expected to miss any time. Jamie McBain will likely return to the Kings lineup tonight for the first time since February 25th, skating alongside Rob Scuderi on the third unit.
THE LAST TIME AROUND: The Kings are 3-1-0 in their four previous meetings with the Canucks this season, winning the teams’ last three match-ups after dropping the first on October 13 at STAPLES Center; the Kings have outscored the Canucks 12-2 in the club’s past three bouts, and are coming off of a 5-1 win on March 7. Anze Kopitar leads all Kings players in points scored against the Canucks this season with six (4G, 2A), Drew Doughty has four (2G, 2A). Tyler Toffoli leads all Kings players in goals scored (3) against Vancouver. Jonathan Quick has started all four games against the Canucks, stopping 86 of 90 shots faced.
COACH’S MILESTONE: Darryl Sutter will coach his 1,200th NHL regular season game tonight, becoming only the 15th coach in league history to reach that mark. In 339 games at the Kings’ helm, Sutter is 184-111-44. Sutter also coached in 216 games with the Chicago Blackhawks (1992-’95), 434 games with the San Jose Sharks (1997 – ’03), and 210 games with the Calgary Flames (2002 – ’06).
FIGHT FOR FIRST: The Anaheim Ducks surpassed the Kings for the top spot in the Pacific division with their 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Sunday night. The Ducks do not play tonight, so the Kings could reclaim first place with either one or two points earned against Vancouver. As of today, each the Kings and Ducks have four games remaining on their regular season schedule, including a head-to-head match-up on Thursday night at STAPLES Center.
RALLY AT ROGERS: The Kings have been quite successful at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena during the past three seasons, posting a 4-1-1 mark in road games against the Canucks dating back to November 23, 2013. The Kings have outscored the Canucks 10-1 in regulation in their past three visits to Vancouver.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the ‘Kings Live’ pregame show at 6:30 PM PST on Fox Sports West, followed with Nick Nickson and Jim Fox on the live play-by-play call from Rogers Arena just prior to puck drop at 7:00. You can listen to Jon Rosen and Daryl Evans call the action over the radio airwaves on AM 790 KABC.