The two franchises who have won four of the last eight Stanley Cups will lock horns tonight in LA when the Penguins meet up with the Kings.
Los Angeles is having frustrating times right now, off to a slow 4-6-0 start, and losers of 3 straight. To make matters worse, they haven't even scored a goal since October 27th- getting shutout for 3 straight games. Their last game Tuesday night against the Ducks was a doozy and they'll be without Tom Gilbert tonight, suspended for the first of 3 games for a hit on Nick Ritchie. That hit knocked Ritchie out of the game last night (and the scrum took out Ryan Getzlaf) so that whole circumstance might have worked in the Pens favor.
Expected Los Angeles lines
Tanner Pearson - Anze Kopitar - Teddy Purcell
Dwight King - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli
Dustin Brown - Nic Dowd - Devin Setoguchi
Kyle Clifford - Nick Shore - Trevor Lewis
Jake Muzzin / Drew Doughty
Kevin Gravel / Alec Martinez
Derek Fortbort / Matt Greene
**Gravel was called up today to replace Gilbert, skating with Martinez in the morning skate. The 24 year old has just 5 career NHL games (all last season).
***It'll be interesting to see what the Kings do in the net. With Jonathan Quick out (and out a while) and our old friend Jeff Zatkoff hurt as well, their healthy goalies are Peter Budaj and former first round pick (and kinda of bust) Jack Campbell. They've leaned on Budaj for the last 8 games and he only has a .900 save %. Granted, they have bigger problems like being shutout for the last 3 games, but they are crippled by Quick's injury.
Expected Pittsburgh lines
Carl Hagelin - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - Phil Kessel
Scott Wilson - Nick Bonino - Bryan Rust
Tom Sestito - Matt Cullen - Eric Fehr
Just a guess on Sestito but with an assist and a fight, and a pretty intimidating Kings team that just injured a player last game, our early guess (and remember this is written the afternoon of the game) is that Sestito keeps his jersey. If not, it would be Tom Kuhnhackl.
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
Olli Maatta / Trevor Daley
Ian Cole / Justin Schultz
Marc Andre Fleury , who got his first game off last night, will be back in the net.
This could be a tough, physical matchup. The Kings are struggling to score, and they're big and nasty. The Pens are on the second night of a back-to-back, so we'll see how they stand up to what could be an intense, tightly contested game.