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game preview

Kings at Oilers preview

McLellan debuts as L.A. coach after getting fired by Edmonton last season

by Derek Van Diest / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

KINGS (0-0-0) at OILERS (1-0-0)

10 p.m. ET; CITY, SNE, SNO, SNW, FS-W, NHL.TV

 

The Game

Todd McLellan will make his debut as coach of the Los Angeles Kings against the Edmonton Oilers, who fired him last season, at Rogers Place on Saturday.

McLellan was fired 20 games into his fourth season in Edmonton and replaced by Ken Hitchcock, who has since been replaced by Dave Tippett. McLellan was hired as Kings coach on April 16.

Los Angeles will be the last team in the NHL to play its season opener. Goalie Jonathan Quick will start for the Kings.

Edmonton defeated the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 in its season opener Wednesday. Goalie Mike Smith will make his second consecutive start for the Oilers.

 

Players to watch

Kings defenseman Tobias Bjornfot will make his NHL debut playing with Drew Doughty on the top pair. Bjornfot was selected in the first round (No. 22) of the 2019 NHL Draft.

Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists against Vancouver. He had an NHL career-high 105 points (50 goals, 55 assists) last season.

 

They said it

"I was joking and telling him there is nothing like playing against one of the best players in the world in your first NHL game. I just told him to relax and play his game. He doesn't have much of a heartbeat, so he'll be just fine." -- Kings defenseman Drew Doughty on Tobias Bjornfot playing against Connor McDavid in his NHL debut

"He was my first coach when I broke into the League and he was great with me, really patient, gave me every opportunity to be successful, and I'm definitely very grateful for that." -- Oilers center Connor McDavid on Kings coach Todd McLellan

 

Kings projected lineup

Alex Iafallo -- Anze Kopitar -- Dustin Brown 

Ilya Kovalchuk -- Adrian Kempe -- Jeff Carter 

Austin Wagner -- Blake Lizotte -- Tyler Toffoli 

Kyle Clifford -- Michael Amadio -- Trevor Lewis 

Tobias Bjornfot -- Drew Doughty 

Ben Hutton -- Matt Roy

Alec Martinez -- Sean Walker 

Jonathan Quick 

Jack Campbell

Scratched: Kurtis MacDermid, Carl Grundstrom, Joakim Ryan

Injured: Derek Forbort(back)

 

Oilers projected lineup

Leon Draisaitl -- Connor McDavid -- Zack Kassian 

Joakim Nygard -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- James Neal 

Jujhar Khaira -- Colby Cave - Patrick Russell 

Markus Granlund -- Gaetan Haas -- Tomas Jurco

Oscar Klefbom -- Joel Persson 

Darnell Nurse -- Ethan Bear 

Kris Russell -- Matt Benning 

Mike Smith 

Mikko Koskinen

Scratched: Brandon Manning

Injured: Adam Larsson (leg), Alex Chiasson (illness), Josh Archibald (illness)

 

Status report

Los Angeles will have three rookies in the lineup: Bjornfot, Lizotte and Roy. … Doughty will play his 411th consecutive game, a Kings record. … Edmonton activated Persson from injured reserve and assigned defenseman William Lagesson to Bakersfield of the American Hockey League on Saturday. … Jurco will make his debut with Edmonton.

 

Stat pack

McLellan had a 123-119-24 record with Edmonton. … McDavid scored his 28th game-winning goal Wednesday against Vancouver. Only Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand has more (31) since McDavid made his NHL debut on Oct. 8, 2015. … Kassian had a goal and assists against Vancouver.

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