Vancouver Canucks preview: The Kings are dead, long live King Boeser

VANCOUVER, BC - DECEMBER 28: Brock Boeser /
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Los Angeles Kings


2017-18 record: 22-11-5

2017-18 record vs Canucks: 0-1-0

Goals for: 109 (tied for 13th in the league)

Goals against: 88 (3rd in the league)

Injuries (from Rotoworld): Jeff Carter (Lower body; out indefinitely), Christian Folin (Upper body; day-to-day)

Who’s on offence

Anze Kopitar has returned to form. With 40 points in 38 games, the Slovenian is tied for 11th in NHL scoring. He is everything for the Kings’ offence, since the next highest point total on the team is 29 points from Dustin Brown. LA is scoring by committee, having four players with at least 10 goals. Kopitar is in great form and doesn’t look close to being finished, which is good because it makes his $10 million cap hit hurt a lot less.

Tyler Toffoli is having a down season. With 25 points in 38 games, he is still fourth on the Kings in scoring. In fairness to Toffoli, he did not get prime opportunities on the top line for long. Players like Dustin Brown, Adrian Kempe and Tanner Pearson got longer looks with Kopitar. Toffoli is missing his second line center with Jeff Carter’s injury and losing Marian Gaborik hurt the team’s forward depth early on. Time will tell, but I think Toffoli will improve on his measly 34-point season last year.

Who’s on defence

Drew Doughty. King of the Roxy in Vancouver. All kidding aside, Doughty remains the best option on the blue line for the Kings. Los Angeles will be in a tough place because his contract is nearly up and Doughty wants a huge pay raise. The Kings may not be able to afford him considering cap space isn’t plentiful. It happens when a team wins a couple Stanley Cups. I will be very interested to see how this situation plays out for Los Angeles.

Who’s in net

Jonathan Quick has the fourth best save percentage and fifth lowest GAA in the NHL. The Kings clearly missed him last season when they lost him to an injury. Quick is usually a tough customer to beat due to his skill and ability to avoid penalties when he takes swings at the Canucks. If the Canucks fail to put enough pressure on him, Quick could coast to an easy win.

Projected lineup

Tanner Pearson—Anze Kopitar—Dustin Brown

Alex Iafallo—Adrian Kempe—Tyler Toffoli

Marion Gaborik—Nick Shore—Trevor Lewis

Andy Andreoff—Torrey Mitchell—Jonny Brodzinski

Jake Muzzin—Drew Doughty

Kurtis Macdermid—Alec Martinez

Derek Forbort—Kevin Gravel

*lineups courtesy of the daily faceoff