OPENING NIGHT: Tonight marks the first of five meetings with the San Jose Sharks this season. The Kings will start the season with six straight home games at STAPLES Center, the most home games they’ve started any respective regular season with since the 1993-’94 campaign. We’re just seven months shy of the Kings’ previous game played, when they defeated the Sharks 4-1 at STAPLES Center to close out the 2014-’15 season.
CRACKIN’ A TREND: The Kings have dropped their three previous home openers, and have lost five of their last six. In 2014-‘15’s home opener on October 8 of last year, the Kings were shutout by the Sharks, losing 4-0. The Kings’ only win during a home opener during the last six seasons came on October 18, 2011, when they beat the St. Louis Blues 5-0. Can the Kings snap their home-opener losing streak with a win tonight against San Jose?
LINEUP: Per Jon Rosen, who attended the Kings’ morning skate at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, here’s how tonight’s lineup should pan out:
LUCIC – KOPITAR – GABORIK
PEARSON – CARTER – TOFFOLI
BROWN – SHORE – LEWIS
CLIFFORD – ANDREOFF – NOLAN
MUZZIN – DOUGHTY
SCHULTZ – EHRHOFF
MCNABB – MARTINEZ
(GREENE – FORBORT)
NOTES: Jonathan Quick
left the ice first to no one’s surprise; he is tonight’s projected starting goaltender … Milan Lucic
will make his regular season debut with the Kings tonight, skating on the left side of Anze Kopitar
and Marian Gaborik
on the first line … The second line, will be That 70’s line … Jordan Weal
will be tonight’s offensive healthy scratch … Jeff Schultz
will be playing in his first game with the Kings since January 17 … Matt Greene
and Derek Forbort
are tonight’s defensive scratches.
THE REAL DEAL: Tonight, the games actually count. The Kings finished their six-game preseason schedule with a 4-1-1 record, while the Sharks, who played in seven exhibition games, finished with a 4-2-1 mark.
OLD FRIEND: Former backup goaltender Martin Jones will be starting in net for the Sharks tonight. Jones was dealt to San Jose days after the Kings traded him to the Boston Bruins prior to the 2015 Draft in June. In 34 games and 29 starts with the Kings over the course of two season, Jones posted a 16-11-2 record, with a .923 SV% and a 1.99 GAA. Martin Jones, in four full games with San Jose during the preseason, was hot – going 3-1-0, posting a .970 SV% and a 0.76 GAA.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Tonight’s game will be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network; FOX SPORTS WEST will begin their television coverage on Friday night when the Kings host the Arizona Coyotes. The Kings’ own Daryl Evans and Nick Nickson will call tonight’s action live on the radio airwaves on AM 790 KABC.