It’s an exciting time with the 2020 Stadium Series game tonight at Falcon Stadium, U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO.
It will be a real battle of the bad buckets out there with the helmet designs on both sides being pretty rough.
But from a standings perspective, it’s more like a really good team versus a really not so good team.
Colorado is in second place of the Central Division with a 33-17-6 record and sitting 6th in the league. The Kings are in eight place of the Pacific Division with a 20-33-5 record and sitting 30th in the league.
Regardless of the Kings poor season, this will be a fun game and a chance for them to win on a big stage and maybe prove that there is hope on the horizon. I’m normally not an outdoor game guy outside of the Winter Classic, but I’m looking forward to this one because of LA being in it.
The boys should be fired up for this one. For many of these guys it will be the only time they play in something as unique as this. They’re also coming off a nice 5-3 win against division rival Calgary Flames that helped end a 5-game losing streak. What’s more, the pressure should be more on the Avs if you ask me. As the better team with the game being played in their barn, they’re expected to win. The Kings just need to keep it loose and play similar to how they did Wednesday night and see what effect that 6621 ft above sea level has.
Speaking of Wednesday...I really liked what Moore brought against Calgary. Now I see why the Leafs folks on here said Kings fans would like him. Great motor, fast, plays hard and solid on the forecheck. Looks like he has that simple and effective North-South game that I really like. I guess you could say that less is “Moore” with him (brutal dad joke).
Back to the task at hand, the Avalanche have been an impressive team the past couple years. Built around youth, speed and skill, I think they’re the kind of blueprint for what Blake is trying to do with LA.
While I’ve never been a fan of Colorado, they are a fun team to watch. Nathan MacKinnon is a machine with his 80 points (32 G, 48 A) in 56 games. Compare that to the Kings points leader Kopitar with 49 (17 G, 32 A) in 58 games and it’s pretty wild. MacKinnon is a top notch guy that also benefits by being surrounded with a cast of talented players who all have skill and seem to be able to skate like the wind.
I think it will be key for the Kings defense to try and keep these guys to the outside. It’s no easy task to contain them, but limiting their ability to work in close and taking away passing lanes is a must. Colorado has the ability to put teams on their heels by use of their speed, so the Kings have to be smart out there and not let the Avs get in behind them or it will be a long night.
I’m assuming Quick will get the nod, but if Petersen should find the blue paint, I’d like to see him show some confidence when playing the puck. He was very shaky in that department against Calgary with one of his attempts directly leading to a goal and another setting up a huge chance for the Flames.
This will be the fourth outdoor game for the Kings if you include the 1991 expedition game in Las Vegas against the New York Rangers.
More recently they played in two other Stadium Series games. The first was in 2014 where they were blanked 3-0 by the Ducks (gross) and the other being the following year in 2015 when they beat the Sharks 2-1.
The real question is...out of the three Stadium Series appearances, which sweater did you like the most?
I always liked the crown logo, but there was too much gray for me in 2014. I liked the 2015 design and how they broke the gray up, but the numbers (especially on the sleeve) were way too big.
I really think the 2020 design is my favorite. While I’ve never been crazy about the “LA” font, there’s something about the diagonal layout and split black and white coloring I really dig!
We’re a little over a week away from the trade deadline and I think the Kings will most definitely be moving a few more guys - at least I hope. The big rumors are still Toffoli and Martinez. Toffoli should get some legit return. I’m a big fan of a Martinez and love his willingness to sellout and block shots, that should be really appealing for other teams, too. I saw an article that suggested Quick and Carter could go in the expansion draft. I suppose that would be one way to unload them.
Interesting quote from McClellan regarding the game tonight and if it can lift the “cloud” that hangs over the Kings with the approaching deadline, via LA Kings Insider:
“I sure hope so. For both teams. The Avalanche are going through the same thing. They’re wondering who’s coming, who’s going. The whole league is a little bit on edge, but in our case, it’s clear what we’re trying to do as an organization, and there are some individuals that are truly affected by it. Their names are on lists and talked about for months now, never mind the last two weeks. But as it gets a little tighter, it becomes more stressful for a lot of people. But this event, I think, is a really good thing for us right now at this time of the year. It’s a little bit with a distraction. There’s an energy around the team and around the building and what a great job they’ve done here already with the stadium and prepping it. We had a popular practice today, I thought. You don’t always get that in the middle of February when you’ve played 60 games already and travel all over the place, so it was nice to see. So I’m hoping it’s a positive for us. I believe it can be.”
Can’t wait until puck drop. I'm saying 5-4 Kings...going to have a cold one on hand and might even make some poutine.
I’m sure you guys have been checking out all the pictures from Twitter, Instagram, etc., leading up to today. Def getting me pumped. Loving those white jackets - too sweet.