The Los Angeles Kings have done what the people of Tinseltown thrill in doing: undergoing makeovers. The defending Stanley Cup champs didn’t look so hot at the start of the season and were languishing below the bold line in the Western Conference, but now they’re like the glowing, bright ‘after’ photo in a makeover comparison. They’re on a five-game win streak, have climbed up to second in the Pacific Division and are now on the right side of the playoff picture.
Just as envious fellow Tinseltown denizens might whisper after seeing someone else flaunt the effects of a big makeover, how are the Kings doing it? They’re outscoring their foes, getting production from many different sticks (Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar have been especially productive in the five-game win streak and Mike Richards is a reliable assist producer), plus both of their goalies are playing well right now.
Now it’s time for the Kings to face the Vancouver Canucks for the second time this season in a rematch of the 2012 Western Conference quarterfinals. Los Angeles took the first chapter of this matchup in late January by a 3-2 shootout win.
Whereas the Kings are on a hot streak, the Canucks aren’t doing so well. Their 4-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes came after a huge 8-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings that reignited a whole mess of jokes about Roberto Luongo‘s goaltending abilities. Cory Schneider was in for the Phoenix loss and was pretty hard on himself after it, but is expected to start tonight and maybe try for his own makeover. Kevin Bieksa‘s questionable for the game with a groin injury and Ryan Kesler has just gone down with a broken foot.
Some Kings who have good records against the Canucks include Dustin Brown (10 goals and seven assists in 30 games), Carter (five goals and an assist in 10 games), Kopitar (five goals and 14 assists in 24 games), Justin Williams (six goals and assists in 18 games) and Jarret Stoll (nine goals and 16 assists in 43 games).
Tonight’s game is at 10 p.m. Eastern and will be the later game on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, plus it will be shown on NHL Network throughout the U.S. and on Fox Sports West.