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Kings see Williams & Richards, NHL's-best Capitals

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings


IN WASHINGTON: Tonight marks the first of two meetings with the Capitals this season and the Kings’ lone visit to Washington’s Verizon Center; the Capitals will pay a visit to STAPLES Center on March 9. Washington is home for a one-game stint; they’re coming off of a 4-3 loss to the Dallas Stars on Saturday. The Kings are playing the fifth of a seven-game home stand; they’re coming off of a 1-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Sunday afternoon.

LINEUP: The Kings held a morning skate at the Verizon Center in anticipation of tonight’s game. Dwight King moved up to the second line to skate on the left side of Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli. Andy Andreoff and Jamie McBain remained on the ice for extra work and are tonight’s presumed healthy scratches. Jonathan Quick left the ice first and is expected to start in net.

FORWARDS

LUCIC – KOPITAR – BROWN
KING – CARTER – TOFFOLI
PEARSON – LECAVALIER – LEWIS
CLIFFORD – SHORE – NOLAN
(ANDREOFF)

DEFENSEMEN

MCNABB – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – MARTINEZ
GRAVEL – SCHENN
(MCBAIN)

GOALTENDERS

QUICK
(ENROTH)
(BUDAJ)

JONATHAN BACK IN?: If indications from Tuesday’s morning skate hold true, Jonathan Quick will return to the Kings’ net tonight after missing three games with a lower-body injury. In 44 games this season, Quick is 28-14-2, posting a 2.23 GAA and a .918 SV%. The Kings went 1-2-0 during Quick’s absence, Jhonas Enroth (0-2-0) and Peter Budaj (1-0-0) filling the void. In six career starts against the Capitals, Quick is 5-1-0 with a .915 SV% and a 2.50 GAA.

WHO?: The Kings will face a team’s backup netminder for the third consecutive game when Philipp Grubauer tends Washington’s crease tonight. The Kings scored five goals on New York’s Antti Raanta Friday, but were held scoreless when New Jersey’s Keith Kinkaid registered his first NHL shutout on Sunday, stopping all 28 shots he faced. Grubauer will be making his ninth start of the season tonight; he comes into the game with a 5-4-1 record, posting a .922 SV% and a 2.36 GAA.

JUSTIN TIME: Former King Justin Williamas signed a two-year contract with Washington over the summer, and his addition has been a delightful one for the Capitals. In 54 games with his new team, Williams has 38 points (18G, 20A). Williams, who played seven seasons with the Kings, which included two Stanley Cup championships, wasn’t mum on seeing his old team again. “I mean, I want to say it’s just another game, but it’s not,” Williams said. “It has a lot of meaning to me, it has a lot of importance to me.”

RICHARDS REUNION: The Kings will face Mike Richards for the first time since his contract was terminated following the 2014-’15 season. Richards signed with the Capitals in early January, and in 11 games with his new team, has yet to register a point and is a minus-one while averaging 12 minutes of ice time per game. “It’ll be more excitement than nervousness,” Richards said about facing his former team.

THE LAST TIME AROUND: The Kings split their two meetings with the Capitals last season, losing 4-0 on February 3, 2015 at the Verizon Center, and winning 3-1 on February 14, 2015 at STAPLES Center. Jonathan Quick started both games, stopping 50 of the 55 combined shots he faced. Four different players recorded two points for Washington in the teams’ two meetings, Dwight King and Trevor Lewis are the only two current Kings to have scored in last year’s season series.

TOUGH TERRITORY: The Capitals have only lost once in regulation in their previous 16 home games at the Verizon Center (14-1-1). Washington is 20-4-2 at home this season, which is the best mark in the NHL for that amount of home games played. The Kings have earned points in nine of their last 10 visits to Washington (7-1-1-1), and are 7-2-1-1 all-time at the Verizon Center since the building opened prior to the 1997-’98 season.

WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the ‘Kings Live’ pregame show at 3:30 PM PST on Fox Sports West, followed with Nick Nickson and Jim Fox on the live play-by-play call from the Verizon Center at 4:00. As always, you can listen to Jon Rosen and Daryl Evans call the action over the radio airwaves on AM 790 KABC.

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