Today marks the first of two meetings with the Penguins this season, the Kings will visit Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center on December 11 to complete the season series. The Penguins are playing the second of a four-game road trip, they’re coming off of a 5-1 win over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night. The Kings are playing the third of a four-game home stand, they’re coming off of a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.
EAST COAST: Today starts a string of eight consecutive games where the Kings will face an Eastern Conference opponent, six of which will be on the road. The Kings are 5-3-1 in nine games against the East this season, and 3-2-0 against Pittsburgh’s Metropolitan division.
LINEUP: The Kings held a practice on Friday morning at the Toyota Sports Center in anticipation of Saturday afternoon’s game. Trevor Lewis left the ice early with an apparent upper-body injury, and it is unclear whether or not he will play Saturday. Andy Andreoff filled in for Lewis in the third line in practice, skating alongside Dustin Brown and Nick Shore. Jordan Weal slotted in on the fourth line, centering Kyle Clifford and Jordan Nolan. Jonathan Quick was the first goaltender to leave the ice and will start in net.
PEARSON – KOPITAR – GABORIK
LUCIC – CARTER – TOFFOLI
BROWN – SHORE – ANDREOFF
CLIFFORD – WEAL – NOLAN
MCNABB – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – MARTINEZ
EHRHOFF – MCBAIN
QUICK FLEURY CAUSING FURY:
The Kings were shutout in both of their games against Pittsburgh last season, the Penguins’ Marc-Andre Fleury stopping all 67 shots the Kings fired his way, chalking up two of his NHL-leading 10 shutouts in 2014-’15. Fleury, who is expected to make his 21st start of the season today, comes in with a 12-7-1 record, posting a .929 SV% and a 2.16 GAA. Can the Kings find a way to get a puck or two past Fleury this afternoon?
OH GEEZE GENO: Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin comes into the day riding a four-game goal streak, totaling eight points (5G, 3A) during that span. In his last seven games, Malkin has totaled 13 points (8G, 5A). Malkin is coming off of a three-point performance (1G, 2A) against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, can the Kings keep him off the board this afternoon?
SUN’S OUT: The Kings are playing the third of their seven matinee home games today, they’re 2-0-0 so far under the sun at STAPLES Center, beating the Nashville Predators 4-3 (OT) on October 31, and the Florida Panthers 4-1 on November 7. The Kings went 5-2-1 in home afternoon games last season.
THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Penguins’ previous visit to STAPLES Center on March 7, 2015, the Kings fell 1-0 in OT. The Kings fired 31 shots on Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury, but were unable to find the back of the net. Patric Hornqvist capitalized on a Kings turnover in OT and fired the game-winning goal past Jonathan Quick. The Kings are 1-1-3 in Pittsburgh’s previous five visits to STAPLES Center, dating back to November 1, 2006.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the ‘Kings Live’ pregame show at 12:30 PM PST on FOX SPORTS WEST, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from STAPLES Center for puck drop just after 1:00. As always, you can listen to Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans call the action on AM 790 KABC.