Dancing in the Reign: Crucial Road-Trip; A Preview
With last night’s 2 points earned via shootout victory, the Kings kept themselves in the top 8 in the Western Conference, currently sitting in 7th place with 59 points. With the Western as tight as it is, there is very little room for error. With 5 teams within 7 points of Los Angeles’ 7th spot, it is critical that the Kings find a way to show up on the road for the remainder of the month. With Terry Murray changing up the lines on what seems to be a daily basis, it’ll be interesting to see if the Kings can stick with similar lines for the entire, if not most of the trip. I have yet to hear or read anything on Murray’s plans for tomorrow night against Detroit as far as line-up goes, but even I can’t provide a stable hypothesis. All we know so far is that Teddy Purcell will play in his 2nd consecutive game after being scratched for the previous 9. Let’s take a look at each of the five opponents Los Angeles faces to end the month of January.
January 23: @ Detroit Red Wings
Talk about a way to start off the road trip. Detroit has been heavy on our tails lately in the Western Conference playoff push. The Wings currently stand at 8th in the Western with 58 points. Obviously, the outcome of this game is huge. The Kings are 0-2 against Detroit this season. Tough opponent, even with their injuries. Very good team in the neutral zone who thrive on causing turnovers up the middle. Entering their zone beyond the top of faceoff circles is also a battle as well, as their forwards are some, if not the best in the league to backcheck. Once they cause the turnover, their transition game is quite impressive. Tomorrow night, the Kings need to establish an offensive presence down low utilizing the classic Dump ‘n Chase strategy. Use the boards, be smart with the puck, put pressure on the defense behind their goal-line. And, Fuck You, Todd Bertuzzi. Fact you’re still in the league is beyond me. Put Raitis back in tomorrow, Terry, so this cheap-fuck can get a taste of his own cheap-shit. I hate you.
January 26: @ Toronto Maple
Don’t have a whole lot to say about this match-up except…they’re 2nd to last in the Eastern. I said in an earlier post, there are two no-excuses games on this road trip. The game in T-dot and the game in a city which rhymes with rubumbus. Don’t want to give it away just yet!! But yes, I’m not going farther than to say if the Kings expect to prove themselves as playoff-caliber, games against teams with records like this are must-wins. Also, I’m sure a few ‘ol buddies of mine from New England wouldn’t mind us beating this guy.
January 28: @ Columbus Blue Jackets
C-Bus stands the same as Toronto, except in the Western as 2nd to last in the Conference. This will be the third time these two teams have met this season, taking one game apiece. Each team dominated on their home ice earning a win in their respective buildings. The last meeting between these teams was quite heated after Rob Scuderi was fined for a “cheap” hit on Jason Chimera.
January 30: @ Boston Bruins
Another team that has been hit hard by injuries this season, and find themselves in almost the exact same position as the Kings. They now stand at 7th in the Eastern Conference with 54 points. Boston and Detroit have felt the effects of losing players to the IR more so than the Kings this season, and have done a wonderful job of staying in the hunt. Everything points to this game as being a dandy. Both teams are hanging on the edge of the top 8 in their respective conferences, and are coming off of a thriller at Staples Center just 2 weeks prior to what will be the faceoff at the TD Banknorth Garden next Saturday.
January 31: @ New Jersey Devils
Yes, this happened last week…and, fuck…beat New Jersey, Please. I’m done. Wow.