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Rested Kings return to face NHL's hottest club

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings



RANGERS (22-11-4) at KINGS (19-12-9)

7:30PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 790 KABC

WELCOME BACK: Tonight marks the first of two meetings with the New York Rangers this season; the Kings will pay a visit to Madison Square Garden on March 24, two nights before the franchise bids farewell to the New York Islanders’ Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on March 26. The Rangers have won 11 of their past 12 games; they’re coming off of a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday night at Honda Center. The Kings are playing the second game of their seven-game home stand at STAPLES Center; they’re coming off of a 7-6 OT loss to the Nashville Predators Saturday night.

JUNE GLOOM: The Rangers are returning to Los Angeles for the first time since last year’s Stanley Cup Final series, in which the Kings won 4-1. While the rematch may rile up some extra emotions, the Kings will be careful to remain grounded and approach tonight’s game like any other. The Kings can’t afford to get caught up in any hype surrounding tonight’s matchup, as New York comes into the night as the hottest team in the NHL.

LINEUP NOTES: Per Jon Rosen, the Kings will go with the line configurations they used during Wednesday’s practice in El Segundo. Dwight King, who has three goals in the last two games, will move up to the first line tonight to play alongside Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik. The lines should look as follows:

GABORIK – KOPITAR – KING
PEARSON – CARTER – TOFFOLI
BROWN – STOLL – WILLIAMS
CLIFFORD – RICHARDS – LEWIS
(NOLAN – ANDREOFF)
-------------------------------
MUZZIN – DOUGHTY
MARTINEZ – GREENE
SCHULTZ – MCBAIN
(REGEHR – MCBNABB)

RED HOT RANGERS: The Rangers haven’t had any offensive troubles of late, as they’ve combined to score 15 goals in their previous three games – all of them wins. The Kings, on the other hand, are coming off of a game in which they allowed seven goals to the Nashville Predators, six of them in regulation time. Jonathan Quick, who was pulled in that game for Martin Jones, will be making his 30th start of the season tonight. Quick comes in with a record of 16-7-9, posting a .917 SV% and a 2.35 GAA. Can Quick recover from Saturday’s blunder against the Predators and shut down the NHL’s hottest offense tonight?

NET CAM: New York’s backup goaltender Cam Talbot will get the start in net tonight for the Rangers; Henrik Lundqvist played last night in Anaheim, making 24 saves in a 4-1 win over the Ducks. Talbot will be making his eighth start of the season, and carries with him a 3-3-1 record with a .928 SV% and a 2.02 GAA. Talbot has recorded a shutout in three of his previous four starts; the most recent an 18-save performance against the Carolina Hurricanes on December 21 in a 1-0 Rangers win. In 25 career NHL regular season starts, Talbot has never faced the Kings.

THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Rangers’ previous regular season visit to Los Angeles on October 7 of last season, the Kings fell 3-1. Jake Muzzin scored the lone goal for the Kings, and Jonathan Quick stopped 25 of 28 shots faced in the loss. Since the Kings relocated to STAPLES Center prior to the 1999-2000 season, they’re 4-2-2-1 against the Rangers in New York’s nine regular season visits to Los Angeles.

WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch KINGS LIVE at 7:00PM PT on FOX SPORTS WEST, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from STAPLES Center for puck drop at 7:30PM PT.

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