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Kings Gameday: Bugged by Injury

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Dallas Stars
@ Los Angeles Kings

Thursday, Oct 22, 2009, 7:30 PM PDT

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is celebrating a win over the Ducks, although it seems like everyone's doing that these days.

Never say the Kings aren't good sports. In light of Dallas' recent injury epidemic the Kings were kind enough to hold Alex Frolov out of Monday's game; now they're holding Justin Williams out of tonight's game with a "lower body injury," which I choose to believe means he contracted syphillis until told otherwise. This should put an already jumbled line-up into even more disarray. Terry Murray had already shuffled the line-up a bit yesterday, placing the Brown with Alexander Frolov and Michal Handzus and Wayne Simmonds down alongside Ted Purcell and Jarret Stoll. There's no word on who will take Justin Williams' spot in the line-up, although word on the street is that it'll likely be Trevor Lewis or Ted Purcell. Probably Lewis, so the Kings can keep the rest of their lines intact.

You're not going to believe me, but I was going to write how the Kings should put Brown with Frolov and Handzus for today before I heard about the line-up switch yesterday. Kopitar and Handzus' lines are getting the lion's share of the even-strength time available each game, meaning Wayne Simmonds was getting more even-strength time than Dustin Brown every night. Brown was making it up on special teams, but it was still non-sensical to give Simmonds (who I love, don't get me wrong) that much time. Now, the Kings can run their top two lines and then cycle in the bottom-six when needed. Fro-Handzus-Brown will still likely get the toughest assignments while Purcell-Stoll-Simmonds will be a good secondary shutdown line when needed.

Dallas is playing their 5th game in 7 nights tonight. Has that been done before? That sucks for them, but good for the Kings. Marc Crawford confused me on Monday night because he kept trying to get his top line on the ice when the Kings had their 4th line out on the ice. I guess he was trying to get as many points from his top line as possible because he knew his depleted forward core was going to have trouble putting the puck in the net, but why not try to win that match-up against the Kings' shutdown line (especially the Kings' shutdown line with Raitis Ivanans on it) instead of just giving up on the other 3 match-ups? The game pretty much went like this: Ribeiro skates around in the Kings' zone, Smyth-Kopitar-Williams dominates Brunnstrom's line, Brown dipsydoodles around Dallas' 4th line, Raitis Ivanans falls down, rinse and repeat. Oh well, I guess that's not the first time Marc Crawford has confused me.

Tonight should be a more traditional struggle, with checking lines matching against top lines and the rest filtering itself out. Brad Richards might play tonight and the Stars better hope to God he does so because Tom Wandell sure as shit wasn't cutting it against Anze Kopitar on Monday.

Prediction: Kings win, 5-3. Goals by Frolov (x2), Brown, Smyth and Doughty.