DANCE WITH THE DEVILS:
Tonight marks the second and final meeting with the Devils this season and New Jersey’s lone visit to STAPLES Center. The Devils are playing the second of a three-game road trip; they’re coming off of a 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night. The Kings are closing out a five-game home stand where they’ve gone 3-1-0 thus far; they’re coming off of a 4-3 OT win over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.
LINEUP: The Kings held an optional morning skate at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo in anticipation of tonight’s game. No line rushes were held, lines used during Thursday’s practice should ring true tonight. Andy Andreoff and Jamie McBain remained on the ice for extra work and are the presumed healthy scratches. Jonathan Quick left the ice first and is expected to start in goal.
LUCIC – KOPITAR – CARTER
PEARSON – LECAVALIER – TOFFOLI
KING – LEWIS – BROWN
CLIFFORD – SHORE – VERSTEEG
SCUDERI – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – MARTINEZ
MCNABB – SCHENN
FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH: With Jeff Carter’s move to the wing on the first line with Milan Lucic and Anze Kopitar, Vincent Lecavalier will continue to center Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli on the team’s second unit. “It’s been good, I think we play well together,” Lecavalier said. “I mean both guys have a lot of speed and they’re quick on pucks, so you know, it’s been going very well.” Lecavalier has goals in each of the two games played centering Pearson and Toffoli; the line has combined for five points (2G, 3A) during that stretch.
THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Kings' first meeting with the Devils this season on February 14 at New Jersey’s Prudential Center, they suffered their fourth shutout loss of the season, falling 1-0. Joseph Blandisi scored the game’s only goal five minutes into the first period, goaltender Keith Kinkaid stopped all 28 shots faced. Jhonas Enroth made 17 saves in net for the Kings. The Kings have lost in each of the Devils’ previous three regular season visits to STAPLES Center dating back to October 25, 2011.
LIFELINE: The Devils will be fighting for their playoff lives tonight as they come into the night seven points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the Eastern Conference’s final wild-card berth. Head coach Darryl Sutter is well-aware of what the Devils bring to the table: “We didn’t give up much and we didn’t get much,” Sutter said of the teams’ previous meeting. “That’s how New Jersey plays. Hey, they get great goaltending. Their special teams, especially on the road are top-10 in the league, and they check. That’s how you win.”
SHUTOUT SPECIALIST: The Kings will get another crack at Devils backup goaltender Keith Kinkaid, who is slated to make his 14th start of the season tonight. Kinkaid picked up his first-career NHL shutout against the Kings on February 14, and is coming off of a 30-save shutout performance against San Jose Thursday night. In 13 starts and 16 appearances this season, Kinkaid is 6-6-1 with a .909 SV% and a 2.55 GAA.
ONE BEFORE THE ROAD: After tonight’s game the Kings will hit the road for a back-to-back set where they’ll face Chicago Monday, Dallas Tuesday. The Kings’ 21-11-1 mark on home ice is good for first in the Pacific, sixth in the NHL. With a 3-1-0 record on their current home stand, the Kings welcome a New Jersey team that’s been a respectable 17-14-3 on the road this season.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the ‘Kings Live’ pregame show at 7:00 PM PST on Fox Sports West, followed with Nick Nickson and Jim Fox on the live play-by-play call from STAPLES Center for puck drop just after 7:30. As always, you can listen to Jon Rosen and Daryl Evans call the action over the radio airwaves on AM 790 KABC.