Things have been quiet here on Lion vs. Mallard for the last several weeks. Perhaps you’ve noticed. As both teams have continued their dominating early season form, our writers have been working on various things outside of the blog that required time and focus, and as such our content has slowed.
When the season began, this site was started as a project by our Anaheim writer Eric as a means to find a foothold in the NHL blog-o-sphere. There have been several successes over the limited lifetime of this site including building a following on Twitter that has been recognized by both franchises (Anaheim featuring a comment in a story on their site, Los Angeles following us), and having an article start a conversation amongst a segment of the fan base in regards to the goaltending position in Anaheim to name just a few.
However, an opportunity has arisen for Eric in the form of a writing position at SB Nation’s Anaheim Calling blog, and he has made the move to join that site. Lion vs. Mallard will continue under the direction of our Los Angeles writer Tyler, who will take over the editorial control of the blog and have more information in the coming days as to what all that will entail.
Thank you for making LvM part of your southern California hockey content diet, and please follow us on Twitter @LionVsMallard!
Anze Kopitar scores against Marty Broduer in Game 1 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Kings (12-6-1) @ New Jersey Devils (6-7-5) – 4pm on FSW
Last Year: Did Not Play
Last Meeting: 6/11/12, the Kings won Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final 6-1.
Key Notes: The Los Angeles Kings completed a third period comeback against the New York Islanders, scoring three unanswered goals to win 3-2…The Devils are on a two game win streak, winning 5-0 over the Predators and 3-2 over the New York Rangers…The Kings “young guns,” Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson and Linden Vey were the main components of the comeback last night with Pearson and Toffoli scoring the game tying goal and the game winner respectively and Linden Vey assisting on both goals…the Devils had a rough start to the season, but have been on a bit of an upswing lately, getting points in each of their last four games…This will be the first meeting between the two teams since the Kings won the Stanley Cup in Game 6 against these Devils…
Andrew Cogliano battles for a rebound in front of Justin Peters in ’11-’12. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM (15-5-1) @ CAROLINA (7-7-4) – 4:00 PM PT [Prime Ticket/AM 830]
Last Meeting: The Ducks won 3-2 in a shootout at Carolina on 2/23/12.
Last 5 Years: Anaheim has held the better of the two teams going 4-2-0 against the Hurricanes. They did not play in ’12-’13, swept 2-0-0 with both wins coming in extra time in ’11-’12, lost 4-2 at Carolina in ’10-’11, won 3-2 at Honda Center in ’09-’10, and split 1-1-0 in ’08-’09.
Los Angeles Kings (11-6-1) @ New York Islanders (7-9-3) – 4pm on FSW
Last Year: Did Not Play
Last Meeting: 2/11/12, The Islanders won 2-1 in overtime on a goal by Mark Streit.
Key Notes: The Kings are coming off of their first overtime loss of the season, losing a 3-2 decision in the shootout to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday…The Islanders won on Tuesday over Nashville 3-1 to end a four game losing skid…The Kings are fighting the injury bug, with now five players out of the lineup. The Kings called up goaltender Martin Jones and winger Tanner Pearson after the injury to Jonathan Quick in overtime against Buffalo…The Islanders recently made a trade with the Buffalo Sabres, sending Matt Moulson in return for Tomas Vanek in the hope of sparking an otherwise uninspiring start for the Isles…
Ryan Malone and Ryan Getzlaf battle for board position during the ’11-’12 season (Scott Audette/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM (15-4-1) @ TAMPA BAY (13-5-0) – 4:30 PM PT [Prime Ticket/AM 830]
Last Meeting: The Ducks lost 3-2 in St. Petersburg on 2/21/12.
Last 5 Years: Anaheim has a slight advantage going 3-2-0 against the Lightning, with all three Ducks wins coming in extra time. They did not play in ’12-’13, lost 3-2 on the road in ’11-’12, won 3-2 in overtime in Anaheim in ’10-’11, swept 2-0-0 in ’09-’10, and lost 4-3 at Honda Center in ’08-’09.
Drew Doughty shoves Matt Moulson out of the crease during the game last Thursday.
Los Angeles Kings (11-6-0) @ Buffalo Sabres (3-15-1) – 4pm on FSW
Last Meeting: It has only been five days since these teams last met, a 2-0 win for the Kings and Jonathan Quick’s first shutout of the season in his 300th NHL game.
Key Notes: Not much has changed in five days, the Kings have won two games in a row and are looking for their second three game win streak of the season…The Sabres, on the other hand, are in the midst of a two game skid, losing first to the Kings, then the Ducks 6-2 on friday before traveling back home…It appears that the goaltending matchup will be one of great focus tonight, with Quick and Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, who are both Olympic hopefuls for Team USA, battling it out tonight…The Kings are visiting First Niagara Center tonight, a place they have not had much success. The last time the Kings won in Buffalo was February 21, 2003….
What to Watch For the Kings:
- The lineup will be similar to the last two games, meaning Linden Vey, Tyler Toffoli and Alec Martinez will stay in the lineup while Jeff Carter, Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene recover from their injuries. Kyle Clifford will also not be playing tonight as he apparently got his “bell rung” according to Kings coach Darryl Sutter. Colin Fraser will be in the lineup in his place.
- With all the injuries thus far, its been a bit of a line shuffle for the Kings. Trevor Lewis will take over the right wing spot on the fourth line for Kyle Clifford and Colin Fraser will center the third line of Daniel Carcillo and Matt Frattin. The youngsters, Toffoli and Vey, have been proving themselves so far with Toffoli scoring two goals and Vey having the highlight of the night on Saturday with his between the leg dangle on Brad Richardson that setup the Kings first goal.
- Jonathan Quick has been on fire these last two games, only allowing one goal in his last six periods. He shutout the Sabres on Thursday and only allowed one goal against the powerful Canucks offense. His save percentage has finally gone over the .900 mark, now at a .906% and his goals against average has plummeted to 2.38.
- The biggest key for the Kings tonight will be their discipline(or lack thereof). The Kings are one of the most penalized teams in the NHL and that has put immense amounts of pressure on the penalty kill unit, who has struggled thus far this season. If the Kings stay out of the sin bin, they have a better chance of winning.
- Players to Watch: Tyler Toffoli, Drew Doughty, Jonathan Quick
What to Watch For the Sabres:
- Ryan Miller is getting the start for the Sabres tonight, looking for just his third win on the season. He has done well so far with a .912 save percentage but his goals against average is up to 3.40, an incredibly high number for one of the better goalies in the NHL.
- It’s no secret that the Sabres are struggling. With only three wins on the season, the lowest point total in the NHL, second to last in scoring and in the bottom five of goals against, one has to wonder how they can stop the bleeding. With their only bright spot being in net, they have got to find a way to help out their goaltenders, who have to stand on their heads if the Sabres are to even have a chance to win games.
- The best player for the Sabres this past week was Matt Moulson. Since being traded from the Islanders to the Sabres, he has made an impact, scoring two goals in his debut. In his last twelve games, he has scored seven goals and seven assists for fourteen points.
- The Buffalo Sabres are still looking for their first home win of the season. This will be their tenth game at First Niagara Center and in their first nine games, they have gone 0-8-1 and the natives are getting restless.
- Players to Watch: Cody Hodgson, Matt Moulson, Ryan Miller
Ryan Getzlaf battles for a loose puck against the Panthers during the ’10-’11 season. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM (15-3-1) @ FLORIDA (3-11-4) – 4:30 PM PT [Prime Ticket/AM 830]
Last Meeting: The Ducks shutout the Panthers 2-0 in Sunrise on 2/19/12.
Last 5 Years: Anaheim has had the better of their ’93-’94 expansion mates going 3-1-0. They did not play in ’12-’13, blanked the Cats 2-0 on the road in ’11-’12, won 5-3 in Anaheim in ’10-’11, shut out Florida 3-0 on the road in ’09-’10, and lost 3-1 at Honda Center in ’08-’09.