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Game Day Watch, 12/20: Los Angeles Kings @ Columbus Blue Jackets

The Kings’ old trade partners are, for once, way up on LA in the standings.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Los Angeles Kings Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

HOW TO WATCH

Game Time: 4:00 PM Pacific
TV: Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports West
Radio: KABC AM 790
Stream: Fox Sports Go (requires cable subscription)

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

if you’re a Kings fan: The Kings finally have something equivalent to rest, after getting more than 48 hours to recover from a grueling stretch of games. Of course, they then have games on Thursday and Friday which they’ll be tired for. So this game is critical, because a flat effort here could mean a very unhappy Christmas for all involved.

if you’re a Blue Jackets fan: Columbus has yet to lose in December, and five of the Jackets’ eight wins this month have been over Pacific Division foes. However, none of them were California teams, so does it really mean anything? They’re only 2-2-1 against the Pacific, but I doubt they’re worried about any team right now as they attempt to earn a franchise-record tenth straight win.

if you’re a hockey fan: You always want to follow the sagas of players traded between teams. Jeff Carter (leading the Kings in points) and Jack Johnson (amazingly, on track for his first plus +/- season EVER) are thriving. Marian Gaborik (healthy scratched last game) is not. Matt Frattin isn’t here, pay attention.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

for the Kings: Matt Greene. Greene is staying in the lineup as Tom Gilbert and Kevin Gravel switch places yet again, and a big reason is his importance to the Kings’ penalty kill. Greene has clearly lost a step in normal situations, but so far this season, the Kings allow fewer shots with him on the ice than they do with any other defenseman, and only Derek Forbort has a lower goals against/60 while shorthanded.

for the Blue Jackets: Cam Atkinson. Atkinson has 31 points this season and carries a six-game point streak (with ten points in those six games) into tonight’s game. Atkinson is tied for the league lead in power play points with 15, as Columbus should provide a stiff test for the aforementioned LA PK.

LEAGUE/WORLDWIDE WATCH

  • Any time you see “injured the other side of his groin,” it’s bad news. So it is for former Blue Jacket Rick Nash. [Blueshirt Banter]
  • Yesterday’s “Game To Watch” had... issues. [Canes Country]
  • 2016 second-rounder Kale Clague made his Team Canada debut in a WJC tune-up yesterday. Canada beat Finland, 5-0.

WATCH THIS

Alec Martinez lost his chest-bump partner this offseason, but that’s okay, because he was always better friends with college teammate Jeff Zatkoff anyway. (We assume.)