Who: Los Angeles Kings (0-0-1) @ Vegas Golden Knights (0-1-0) What: NHL Preseason Game: Monday, September 26 @ 7:00 Pacific Where: T-Mobile Arena – Las Vegas, NV Follow: Video: NHL Network – Audio – iHeart Radio – Twitter: @DooleyLAK and @LAKings
Matchup of the Night: The Kings complete a back-to-back series in the preseason opener this evening when they visit the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena.
Head-to-head: The Kings and Golden Knights met twice last year with each team winning once, in addition to four meetings during the regular season. Forwards Leah Anderson and Gabe Vilardi each had a point in the 2021 preseason with Vegas, and both are expected to be in tonight’s lineup as well.
Kings Highlights: Here’s the expected lineup for tonight’s game against Vegas –
Forwards (13) – Jarrett Anderson-Dolan, Lias Anderson, Martin Kromiak, Jacob Doty, Kevin Fiala, Samuel Helenius, Adrian Kempe, Anze Kopitar, Rasmus Kupari, Tyler Madden, Alan Quinn, Akhil Thomas, Gabe Vilardi Defensemen (6) – Frederic Allard, Mikey Anderson, Brandt Clark, Alex Edler, Jacob Moverare, Jordan Spence Goalkeepers (3) – Phoenix Copley, Jacob Ingham, Cal Peterson
Like yesterday, the team is expected to travel with one more skater and, in today’s case, one more goalkeeper.
Today’s lineup gives us our first look at the team’s top forward line, with the trio of Kevin Fiala, Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe expected to be in tonight’s lineup and should skate together in Vegas. Beyond those three, there will be forwards on the roster bubble, fighting for spots, and a few individuals playing in back-to-back games. In the latter division, regulars Mikey Anderson and Alex Edler were slated to make their preseason preparations as leaders of that division.
Here’s how the team fared during today’s morning skate:
22 – 11 – 913 – 89 – 3717 – 28 – 4110 – 79 – 45
44 – 532 – 5457 – 58
One other roster note – the Kings announced this morning that defenseman Angus Booth has been assigned to the Shawinigan Cataracts of the QMJHL. Booth was in the party that traveled to San Jose last night but did not play and will now return to the junior team for a regular season game. Booth was a fourth-round pick by the Kings in the 2022 NHL Draft and should play a big role for the league champions this season.
Game one, game two The Kings will use a handful of players here on back-to-back nights to start the preseason, with forwards Leah Anderson and Akhil Thomas, along with defenseman Brandt Clark on back-to-back days.
Speaking to Anderson and Clarke this morning, both men touched on the strange flow of last night’s game, which was full of free kicks and challenged players on both sides to get into the flow of the game.
Anderson – It was fun. It was a different game, there were a lot of penalties, so in the first two periods there were no shots. A little different, but I think we started well. In the first session, we struggled a little with penalties and then we started to move our feet a little and in the second and third, I think we should be very happy with it. .
Clark – Yeah, it definitely wasn’t a normal flow, back and forth kind of game. They had a lot of pressure in the first period because we were killing the whole time and had a lot of pressure in the second period. That definitely gave our special teams a lot of practice and our execution was impressive, no matter how many shots we gave them but our power play was definitely creating some good shots but unfortunately we didn’t bury any of them.
For those three players, it marked a regressive early season when you factored in the highs of training camp that ran Thursday through Saturday.
Anderson and Clark are excited for the extra game action and both are making no excuses as they look to put their best foot forward in their quest to make the NHL roster.
Anderson – Five games in five days here [between camp scrimmages and exhibition games]. I’m just trying to make the best of it, put my stuff in the gym and make sure I’m ready to play.
Clarke – With those three group games, and now two games in a row, it’s definitely going to be tiring after the night, but they want to see my consistency, that’s why they’re going to throw me out there. I get up on the show, I don’t sit back or anything, I still play my game. I’ll feel better and be ready to go.
Breaking down JADOne’s individual outlook ahead of the pre-season is forward Jarrett Anderson-Dolan.
Anderson-Dolan is one of several players on the roster bubble fighting for a spot with the big club. Anderson-Dolan has played in NHL games in each of the past four seasons, including a career-high 34 games during the Covid-shortened stint since the start of the 2018-19 campaign as a 19-year-old. 2020-21 season and seven more games last year.
Anderson-Dolan spent the rest of the 2021-22 season with the AHL’s Ontario Province in style, scoring 24 goals and 47 points in 54 regular season games. He’s featured as a key member of the team’s top-6 and top power play unit, with his offensive totals rising from the rookie totals in the AHL.
Now 23 years old, and no longer a free agent, Anderson-Dolan has his sights set on an NHL club. The first step towards that is the preseason, which is something he’s looking forward to playing.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said when asked if he likes playing in preseason games. “For everybody, no matter where you’re at, I think for the guys that were here, you’re getting your time back and getting your game legs back and getting ready for the regular season. For guys competing for a job, it’s just a chance to prove yourself, so I’m definitely excited.
Anderson-Dolan’s words dovetail with what Todd McClellan said in the first two games, that these were games of chance for many in camp. That’s certainly the case when Anderson-Dolan came out with a message from his coaching staff last season with a goal of improving puck protection.
“A big focus this winter was pickpocketing and defense. It’s something they talked to me about at my exit meeting and I think I got a little better at it over the summer. Now it’s just a matter of translating that into my game and into these preseason games.
Along with the way the Kings intend to play, those are areas of focus that bolster Anderson-Dolan’s chances of making the opening-night roster. We’ll get our first glimpses of those changes this evening in Las Vegas.
Tonight’s strong D-Men game is expected to mark the preseason debuts of Jacob Moverare and Jordan Spence.
Spence was one of the organization’s best stories among young players last season, as he burst onto the scene in a big way. Originally slated to return to professional hockey as a rookie at the AHL level, Spence not only dominated in the minor leagues, went on to be named to the AHL’s first all-star team, but also made his NHL debut. 24 regular season games plus three in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It was another positive storyline for the Kings as Moverare stepped up from the AHL and played a big role down the stretch. Although he plays with less of an offensive mindset and is less flashy than Spence, he can probably be effective playing his own game. As a loyal, stay-at-home, no-nonsense team, Moverare was a positive presence at times when the Kings were depleted at the back.
Both individuals now find themselves in the midst of battles here at training camp. With all the injuries the organization faced last season, the Kings now have players with NHL experience instead of NHL roster spots. That gives the opportunity to compete for a job in training camp, which is exactly what both young Blueliners hope to do.
I think Spence will come with experience just like last season. Fortunately, I have played 24 games, so to have that experience, I want to bring that to the camp and show what I can bring. I think I’m more confident this year, and it’s my goal to make the team, so we’ll see how it goes.
Going into the main training camp when you did rookie camp, I only had one game. [at the Rookie Faceoff]But that five-on-five game, to have that speed, I’m probably a little more prepared than other guys, because I’m used to playing faster. I think it would be good to come to the main camp and do all that conditioning.
The confidence to play his game and not being afraid to make mistakes. Nobody’s perfect, everybody makes mistakes, but I think it’s just the guys who go back and get better at it. For me, I know what I need to do to become a better player, I know my weaknesses. I am trying my best to fix those. [during camp] And go forward from there.
Jacob Moverare pre-game interview
Kings vs. Golden Knights, tonight on NHL Network! The team will return to practice tomorrow, with Division A now set to hit the ice at 11:30 a.m. at the Toyota Sports Performance Center.