Los Angeles Kings 2015-16 Regular Season:
Game 25 vs. Pittsburgh, December 5, 2015, 1pm PST
The Los Angeles Kings are riding high right now as will hope to extend their current win-streak to three as they play host to Sidney Crosby and the 14-8-2 Pittsburgh Penguins for a Saturday matinee. This will be not only the first of two meetings between the two clubs this season but the first of two in less than a week.
This is the third game of a four-game homestand for the Kings and the first of back-to-back contests as they play host to Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday night. But first, they must focus on a Penguins team that has been the subject of some criticism thus far despite their 14-8-2 record. After all, the Penguins won both meetings against the Kings last season.
The Pens enter Saturday’s contest occupying the first Wild Card spot in the East but there has been concern surrounding Sidney Crosby who, through 24 games, has five goals and 10 assists. Those numbers are decent for most players at this juncture but subpar for the Pittsburgh superstar. Phil Kessel is also putting up less-than-stellar numbers by his standards. Through 24 games, the former Toronto Maple Leaf has nine goals and eight assists. The Penguins, however, are being led in scoring by Evgeni Malkin who has 12 goals and 13 assists in 24 outings, and it is him who the silver-and-black have to pay special attention to. In seven career games against the Kings, Malkin has six goals and four assists. Needless to say, the Los Angeles D should be planning on containing the Russian as best as they can. Even Crosby has been good against the Kings. While he has just one goal against them in his career, No. 87 has registered seven assists against Los Angeles in as many games.
For the Kings, the TLC Line leads the way with Jeff Carter impressing the most recently. Overall, Carter leads the silver-and-black with 23 points but it’s Tyler Toffoli leading the way in goals with 11. Milan Lucic has complemented both men very well thus far, scoring seven goals and adding seven assists while making his mark physically, generating a team-leading 57 hits in November.
Since this is the first of back-to-back games, expect to see Jhonas Enroth in action this weekend. Jonathan Quick, though, will most likely get the call against the Pens on Saturday but we will just have to see.
Since the era of Gretzky and Lemieux, there hasn’t been much excitement involved in the Kings-Penguins rivalry. On paper, though, it is quite the battle between two deeply-talented clubs.
We should be in for a fun afternoon on Saturday.
Enjoy the game!