Los Angeles Kings 2015-16 Regular Season:
Game 28 @ Pittsburgh, December 11, 2015, 4pm PST
It is the second meeting in less than a week between these two clubs but this time, it’s the 15-10-2 Pittsburgh Penguins who have home-ice advantage as they get set to host the Los Angeles Kings.
Last Saturday, the Kings beat the Pens by a 5-3 score thanks to a two-goal afternoon by Milan Lucic and three goals from three different blueliners: Drew Doughty, Christian Ehrhoff and Jake Muzzin. What highlighted said game, though, was an explosive second period that saw six goals scored (four by the silver-and-black). In addition, the Kings were able to keep Evgeni Malkin pointless, which was no easy feat considering he had notched 10 points in seven-career games against Los Angeles entering said contest.
While the Kings are looking for the season sweep of the Pens, they will be welcoming a new face to the lineup.
On Wednesday, Michael Mersch was recalled from AHL-Ontario where he accompanied the Kings on their road trip. It is likely that the 23-year-old will be making his NHL debut on Friday night after being paired in practice with Nick Shore and Dustin Brown, both of whom have shared great chemistry as of late.
To suggest that Kings fans are excited for Mersch’s debut is certainly an understatement. In 19 games for the Ontario Reign this season, the native of Park Ridge, Ill., has scored 12 goals and 15 points and has already garnered a plethora of critical attention as a gem in Los Angeles’s bright future. In addition to his offensive prowess, Mersch is notorious for crowding the opposing net to create screens. This is an area where the Kings could see a dramatic improvement in so we’ll see how the youngster fares.
The Penguins had lost two-in-a-row but snapped that slide in Denver on Wednesday when they beat the Colorado Avalanche by a 4-2 score.
Last weekend, Chris Kunitz led the way for the Pens with a goal and two assists at STAPLES Center while Sidney Crosby, despite his struggles this season, scored a goal of his own and added an assist in the loss. These are just two of the players that the Kings need to contain should they hope to extend their winning streak to six on Friday.
Enjoy the game!