LA Kings @ Minnesota Wild
5:00 PST, Fox Sports West
Jack Johnson made his debut against the Stars on Saturday, playing about 20 minutes overall. He had 2 shifts for about a minute and a half, so during regular time he had about 18 1/2 minutes. That's a pretty good number for a guy that hasn't played in 40 games, but Johnson was sheltered by Terry Murray for most of the game. Because the Kings skated 7 defensemen, Johnson mostly played with Peter Harrold and Denis Gauthier, while occasionally taking a few shifts with Matt Greene. He played only 30 seconds of special teams, a penalty kill in the 2nd period. He was fairly effective, showing a good speed out of his zone and had a good scoring opportunity in overtime. He had two shots, was on the ice for Mike Ribeiro's goal with 1 1/2 minutes left, and got a penalty for punching Steve Ott about the face. Overall, Johnson had a fairly good game.
Now, how do the Kings get him more into the game?
The Kings are going to skate 6 defensemen tonight, meaning that one of Denis Gauthier or Peter Harrold are going to sit tonight. Harrold has been playing a lot of minutes lately but let Jere Lehtinen skate in alone against Ersberg in the Dallas game, so Murray might sit him for that. Gauthier is a fairly good penalty killer, but also made like 9 mistakes against the Red Wings two games ago, so maybe he'll sit. I'd like to see Denis Gauthier sit, because no one likes him and I want to be cool. For the defense, I'd like to see this:
The Kings are playing Ivanans-Armstrong-Westgarth tonight against Minnesota. I'm kind of afraid Westgarth is going to go toe-to-toe against Derek Boogaard. You don't like to see a kid get killed in his first NHL game.
Brian Boyle and Ted Purcell were both sent down (Purcell to make room for Jonathan Bernier), so it's looks like the Kings are going to ice these lines:
Frolov-Kopitar-Simmonds (our best line against Dallas)
The Kings, uh, the Kings are probably not going to win tonight unless our best players make something happen.
Prediction: Kings tie, 0-0. Didn't think ties could still happen, did you?