For most of the season, Brough and I shrugged off concerns about the slumping L.A. Kings. Don’t worry, we said. They’ll be fine, we said. Defending Stanley Cup champs, we said.
Having won just four games since Christmas, the Kings are in serious jeopardy of missing the playoffs and becoming the first reigning champ to miss the subsequent postseason since Carolina in 2007.
What’s more, the club’s terrible cap situation could prevent GM Dean Lombardi from pulling another trade deadline rabbit out of his hat, like in 2012 (with Jeff Carter) and last spring (with Marian Gaborik.)
In related news, Brayden McNabb — seen in the above video making an egregious mistake — will be replaced in the lineup tonight versus Florida by Jamie McBain.
Pekka Rinne will start in goal for Nashville — for the first time since Jan. 19 — when the Preds host the Ducks tonight at Bridgestone.
Rinne, the NHL’s wins leader (29), had been playing at a Vezina- and Hart-worthy level prior to suffering a sprained knee three weeks ago, posting a .931 save percentage and 1.96 GAA. While Nashville did well in his absence (Carter Hutton and Marek Mazanec combined to go 4-2-2), Rinne’s return will be a massive boost, especially against a Ducks team that’s tied on 72 points with the Preds, but trails in the standings because of the regulation wins tiebreaker.
For Anaheim, Frederik Andersen will get the start in goal.
Blues at Sabres: Jake Allen vs. Jhonas Enroth
Isles at Flyers: Jaroslav Halak vs. Steve Mason
Caps at Sens: Braden Holtby vs. Robin Lehner
Kings at Panthers: Roberto Luongo for Florida, Jonathan Quick likely for L.A.
Bolts at Stars: Andrei Vasilevskiy for Tampa Bay, Kari Lehtonen likely for Dallas.
Wings at Avs: Petr Mrazek for Detroit, no word on a Colorado starter.
‘Canes at Coyotes: Cam Ward vs. Mike Smith
Sharks at Canucks: Ryan Miller for Vancouver, Antti Niemi likely for San Jose.
Bruins’ second D pair of Seidenberg-McQuaid is an issue
The soft spot in the B’s defense picked on Wednesday night was the pairing of Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid. The duo relies on rugged physicality to make up for a lack of foot speed as Boston’s middle defensive pairing, but it wasn’t working vs. the Rangers as they finished minus-2 in the loss, and were routinely on their heels vs. speedy Rangers forwards like Nash, Derick Brassard, Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin among others.
McQuaid, of course, has been asked to do a lot more since Johnny Boychuk was traded to the Islanders. The 28-year-old has been playing 18 or 19 minutes a game this season, whereas he averaged 13:02 during the 2011 playoffs and 14:47 in the 2013 postseason.
This isn’t meant to pick on McQuaid. He’s just no Boychuk. The Kings are experiencing similar issues without Slava Voynov playing the right side on the second pair, with Alec Martinez being asked to do more.
And just like that’s a challenge for GM Dean Lombardi in Los Angeles, it’s a challenge for Peter Chiarelli in Boston. The Bruins don’t have a ton of cap space; that’s why they traded Boychuk in the first place. And they’ll be hesitant to give up significant assets for a rental (like, say, Cody Franson) they may not be able to re-sign.
Video: Mike Richards scores first goal for AHL Monarchs
Richards, 29 years old and a veteran of 704 NHL regular season games, had a goal and two assists in the Monarchs’ 4-1 victory over the Albany Devils on Wednesday.
“I’m getting used to playing with the same linemates, and getting to know them a little bit better,” said Richards, as per the Monarchs website. “I thought we made some plays tonight, but still have some things to work on.”
L.A. Kings defenseman Slava Voynov will stand trial in March for a felony domestic violence charge, however a police report obtained by the L.A. Times alleges Voynov kicked and punched his wife during an argument between the two in October.
Slava Voynov allegedly told his wife “he wanted a divorce” and “there would be no more money” and repeatedly kicked her during an October altercation between the couple that led to a felony domestic violence charge against the Kings defenseman.
The details are part of a Redondo Beach Police report on the situation obtained by The Times through a public records request.
Voynov has pleaded not guilty to the charge and faces a March 2 trial in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Marta Varlamova, Voynov’s wife, told police the couple started arguing during a Halloween party. Voynov removed her costume glasses and stomped on them, then, outside the venue, he punched her in the left jaw, according to the report.