After a resounding 5-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets earlier this week, the Los Angeles Kings are approaching their Thursday matchup with the Minnesota Wild with a resolute “if it ain’t broke, don’t change it” mentality.
- No lineup changes are anticipated for the Kings.
- Cam Talbot is set to start for the second consecutive game, a first for him this season.
- Todd McLellan’s decision to start Talbot over Pheonix Copley reflects the team’s focus on the hot hand.
Ahead of a recent game, coach Todd McLellan had expressed his desire to give Pheonix Copley a chance to find his rhythm and get some game time under his belt. However, it appears that Cam Talbot’s impressive performance has swayed the coaching staff’s decision in his favor for the upcoming game against the Wild.
While it’s still early in the season, if Talbot continues to deliver strong performances, the question of who will start in the net on Saturday against the Boston Bruins becomes an intriguing one.
The Kings’ newly formed top line, featuring Arthur Kaliyev alongside Phil Danault and Trevor Moore, exhibited dominance in their previous game. The upcoming matchup against the Wild will shed light on whether this line’s success was a one-time occurrence or the beginning of a new norm.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Wild have had a solid start to their season, boasting a 2-1-0 record, largely led by star forward Kirill Kaprizov. However, the Wild will be missing young forward Matt Boldy and veteran defenseman Matt Goligoski for this game. In a somewhat nostalgic twist, Marc-Andre Fleury, who used to be Cam Talbot’s goalie partner, will be guarding the net for the Wild.
Here’s a glimpse at the expected lineups for both teams:
Los Angeles Kings Expected Lines: Forwards:
- Quinton Byfield – Anze Kopitar – Adrian Kempe
- Kevin Fiala – Pierre-Luc Dubois – Alex Laferriere
- Trevor Moore – Phil Danault – Arthur Kaliyev
- Carl Grundstrom – Blake Lizotte – Trevor Lewis
- Mikey Anderson – Drew Doughty
- Vladislav Gavrikov – Matt Roy
- Andreas Englund – Jordan Spence
- Cam Talbot
- Pheonix Copley
Minnesota Wild Expected Lines: Forwards:
- Kirill Kaprizov – Ryan Hartman – Mats Zuccarello
- Marcus Johansson – Joel Eriksson Ek – Sammy Walker
- Marcus Foligno – Marco Rossi – Frederick Gaudreau
- Pat Maroon – Connor Dewar – Brandon Duhaime
- Jonas Brodin – Calen Addison
- Jacob Middleton – Brock Faber
- Dakota Mermis – Jon Merrill
- Marc-Andre Fleury
- Filip Gustavsson
One intriguing aspect to watch is how the Kings handle the physicality of the Wild, known for their aggressive style of play. Historically, the Kings have faced challenges when dealing with aggressive opponents. The offseason additions of Pierre-Luc Dubois and Andreas Englund were aimed at addressing this concern. The upcoming game against the Wild will serve as a litmus test to determine if these roster changes have indeed bolstered the Kings’ ability to handle physicality and maintain their winning formula.