When the Pittsburgh Penguins square off against the Los Angeles Kings in Kansas City for tonight’s preseason matchup, we’ll see a game made up of largely NHL players, as opposed to the AHL-level talent we’ve seen in Pittsburgh’s first three games.
Notables in LA’s lineup include Mike Richards, Dustin Penner, Justin Williams, Dustin Brown, Jarrett Stoll and Trent Hunter, while the likes of Jack Johnson, Rob Scuderi and Matt Greene will patrol the Kings’ blueline. Jonathan Quick is expected to start in net.
Los Angeles still hasn’t signed restricted free agent defenseman Drew Doughty, which is pretty hilarious. According to numerous reports, the Kings offered Doughty a multi-year deal worth approximately $6.8 million/year, and he turned it down. Some reports say the two sides are just $300,000 away. If that’s true, there’s no reason he hasn’t signed yet.
Anyway, here are Pittsburgh’s lines from their morning skate, which are assumed to be what they’ll deploy tonight:
Eric Tangradi – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal
Chris Kunitz – Jordan Staal – Tyler Kennedy
Richard Park – Mark Letestu – Nick Johnson
Steve MacIntyre – Joe Vitale – Craig Adams
Marc-Andre Fleury will be in net to start the game, but Brad Thiessen will dress as well.
I can’t stress how big of an opportunity this is for Tangradi. He’s had a subpar camp thus far and looks destined to return to the AHL once again. A huge showing tonight would be, well, huge. He’s playing with NHL-caliber teammates against a primarily NHL-caliber lineup, so he needs to show what he’s capable of. Get to the front of the net. Create traffic. Battle in the corners. Be physical. There’s no reason he hasn’t been doing any of these things.
Winger Steve Sullivan will sit out his fourth straight preseason game with a groin injury. Not a great start to his Penguins career for the oft-injured free agent signing. Sullivan’s situation is eerily similar to that of Mike Comrie last year, and that didn’t end well.