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Game Day Watch, 12/15: Los Angeles Kings @ Detroit Red Wings

Before the meat of this nine-game road trip: an opportunity.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Los Angeles Kings Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

HOW TO WATCH

Game Time: 4:30 PM Pacific
TV: Fox Sports West, Fox Sports Detroit
Radio: KABC AM 790
Stream: Fox Sports Go (requires cable subscription)

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

if you’re a Kings fan: Going off of the morning skate, Tom Gilbert and Matt Greene are both likely to play, and given that the two right-shot defensemen have spent all of ten seconds paired together this season, that means top-four changes. Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez were on the ice together for four goals against Buffalo, so we’ll see whether either sees their shift count decrease tonight.

if you’re a Red Wings fan: Detroit has hit a low point. They haven’t won a regulation game all month, their offense has two total goals during a three-game losing streak, and they lost by three goals on Tuesday to one of the league’s worst teams.So the watch is simply for something good to happen.

if you’re a hockey fan: Depending on when you got into the sport, you probably hate one or both of these teams due to their success, and they’re both struggling right now. So... do you like schadenfreude?

PLAYERS TO WATCH

for the Kings: Jeff Zatkoff. In six games this month, LA has gotten two good goaltending performances. One was Budaj’s showing against Ottawa five days ago. The other? Zatkoff, in relief of Budaj in Arizona. Zatkoff still is without a good start this year, but Budaj has left the door open for Zatkoff to seize some playing time.

for the Red Wings: Jimmy Howard. He had an off night against the Coyotes, but he’s been the Wings’ MVP this season despite starting the year as the backup. With Detroit’s offense sputtering, they are looking to Howard to bail them out.

LEAGUE/WORLDWIDE WATCH

  • The Kings were rumored to be looking at defenseman Justin Schultz at the trade deadline, and in free agency, the Penguins gave Schultz the same contract that LA gave Tom Gilbert. Pittsburgh is pleased with their choice. [Pensburgh]
  • Six teams which made the playoffs last year, including the Kings, are currently outside the playoff picture, meaning six teams which missed out last year are in. Which of those twelve teams is most likely to change their fate, for better or for worse? [Sportsnet]
  • Team Canada has been finalized leading up to the 2017 World Junior Championships, and Kale Clague is IN. Congrats to the Kings’ 2016 second-rounder. [TSN]

WATCH THIS

Oh god actually don’t watch this