You really never know what you're going to get from this enigma of a Kings team. Are they the team that kicks your teeth in at 4-0, the team that finds a way to give up 4 goals to a Detroit team that only managed 15 shots, the team that sits by and watches JJ's revenge in a bad 3-1 loss to the Jackets, or maybe the team that pots 5 and a win in a tough back and forth game in Music City? If I can recognize the Kings inconsistencies, I can't imagine how annoying it'd be to root for the underachievers in black and purple.
I won't spend too much time reliving the special teams horror story from the last time these two teams met, but it should serve as a reminder that the Kings do have talent. Since the Jeff Carter acquisition, the Kings are 4-3 with a 3.14 G/game average; Carter has produced 3 goals and 1 assist in those seven games.
LA enters this game, which is the 4th of their 4 game road trip, having lost their last two, and probably looking to take their frustration out on a Hawks team that gave them one of their easiest wins of the season.
When you look at what's happening in the Pacific division, you can't help but chuckle. The 5 point gap that separates the 1st place Stars from the 4th place Kings is easily the smallest margin between the 1st and 4th place teams in any division, but when you notice that the Hawks point and ROW totals would be good enough to lead the Pacific, your laughter quickly turns to tears. The point here is that Los Angeles is still fighting tooth and nail for a playoff spot and maybe even for a division championship that isn't completely out of the question, and they ought to be hungry for 2 points tonight. Teams that keep the puck out of their own net tend to play solid road hockey, and the Kings are no exception. If you crave more info on tonight's opponent, this post is still relatively fresh......
Hawks fans have suffered through two up and down seasons following the 09-10 championship, but games like friday night's are equivalent to the 7 iron you knock stiff from 160 on the 18th hole to tap in for a 105, they keep you coming back again and again. There's no time to let up now though, the Hawks need to stockpile those home points with just 13 games left in the regular season.
Emery in net tomorrow, oduya going to get pp time. "we're passing up shots from the point" says Q - Rogers
So Razor gets his 5th start in a row, and the guy who made arguably the sweetest move we've seen at the blue line this season is going to get a look on the powerplay. Noted.
One thing that needs a larger sample size, but could end up being a big positive for the Hawks, is the ice time given to Hammer on third pairing. Against the top team in the East, Hammer and Olsen got a combined 26:32 in ice time, with Keith and Seabrook at somewhat reasonable numbers of 27:36 and 24:49, respectively. At the very least, it was encouraging to see Olsen and Hammer get a few shifts in the third.
Being that I'm writing this preview quite early this morning, I haven't seen if there are any line combination changes for tonight's game. Andrew Brunette really didn't have much of a game on Friday, and he was of little use to Kane and Hoss, who had some decent jump. I wouldn't mind seeing The Jimmy get some time in Bruno's place there, but I can't pretend that I think Q will actually pull the trigger on a move like that.
Let's get some revenge for that 2/25 beatdown, eh boys? Let's go Hawks!