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Preview: Kings at Panthers

Los Angeles likely to shuffle lines; Florida goes for fourth straight win

by Alain Poupart / NHL.com Correspondent

KINGS (27-23-4) at PANTHERS (23-19-10)

7:30 p.m. ET; FS-F, FS-W, NHL.TV

 

Kings team scope

The Los Angeles Kings are likely to shuffle their forward lines after consecutive 5-0 losses to the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning; three of their four lines looked different during the morning skate Thursday. The only one that remained intact was the unit of Dwight King, Nick Shore and Trevor Lewis. The top two lines had Anze Kopitar between Andy Andreoff and Tyler Toffoli, and Jeff Carter centering Dustin Brown and Tanner Pearson. "Last game we didn't get the goaltending we needed early," coach Darryl Sutter told LA Kings Insider. "You've got to score first goals. The game before that, we probably made a couple of one-on-one mistakes. It's going to happen. It happens once in a while; not very often, but it does. Quite honest, we're pretty pleased to be able to hang in there and do what we've done." Goalie Peter Budaj was the first goalie off the ice and is expected to start his eighth straight game, though he was replaced by Jeff Zatkoff in the third period against Washington on Sunday. Each of the Kings' past four games has been a shutout; they defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-0 at home and won 1-0 in overtime at the Philadelphia Flyers before the losses at Washington and Tampa Bay. After playing on the road for the ninth time in 10 games, the Kings are off until the Arizona Coyotes come to Staples Center next Thursday.

 

Panthers team scope

The Florida Panthers return from their break looking to extend a season-long three-game winning streak. They last played Friday, when they defeated the Anaheim Ducks 2-1, and are 3-0-0 on a homestand that concludes against the Kings. "We finished off against Anaheim with a good note," coach Tom Rowe said. "The guys played really well for the full 60 [minutes], really good defensively, and we got some good goals off of that. Good game, but we've got another brutal one tonight." Goalie James Reimer will make his second consecutive start. He is 5-1-1 in his past seven games, allowing one goal in each of the victories, and has a 2.11 goals-against average and.932 save percentage during the seven-game stretch. Among goalies with at least 10 appearances since Dec. 1, Reimer is second in the NHL in save percentage (.932). The Panthers start a five-game road trip Saturday with an afternoon game at the Nashville Predators.

 

Kings projected lineup

Andy Andreoff -- Anze Kopitar -- Tyler Toffoli

Tanner Pearson -- Jeff Carter -- Dustin Brown

Kyle Clifford -- Nic Dowd -- Marian Gaborik

Dwight King -- Nick Shore -- Trevor Lewis

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Alec Martinez

Brayden McNabb -- Paul LaDue

Peter Budaj

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Devin Setoguchi, Kevin Gravel

Injured: Jonathan Quick (groin), Jordan Nolan (lower body), Matt Greene (back)

 

Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Jaromir Jagr

Jussi Jokinen -- Vincent Trocheck -- Reilly Smith 

Jonathan Marchessault -- Michael Sgarbossa -- Nick Bjugstad

Shawn Thornton -- Derek MacKenzie - Colton Sceviour 

Keith Yandle -- Jason Demers

Mark Pysyk -- Aaron Ekblad 

Michael Matheson -- Alex Petrovic

James Reimer 

Roberto Luongo 

Scratched: Jakub Kindl, Greg McKegg

Injured: None

 

Status report

LaDue, who played 16:11 in his NHL debut Tuesday against Tampa Bay, is expected to be in the lineup again. … Marchessault will play despite missing practice Wednesday because of illness. ... The Panthers are expected to go with the same lineup they used against Anaheim.

 

Who's hot

Barkov has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in his past 12 games. Yandle has four assists in his past three games.

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