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Game Day Watch, 1/12: St. Louis Blues @ Los Angeles Kings

St. Louis is in town? Music to our ears.

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

HOW TO WATCH

Game Time: 7:30 PM Pacific
TV: Fox Sports West, Sportsnet
Radio: KABC AM 790
Stream: Fox Sports Go (requires cable subscription)

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

if you’re a Kings fan: We politely asked the Kings not to give up the first goal, and to score some goals of their own, on Monday. After 35 minutes it was 2-0 Stars, and despite a furious rush of goals in the third, that two-goal deficit ended up costing LA. St. Louis has gotten hideous goaltending this year, so the Kings need to attack early and try to get on the board first for once.

if you’re a Blues fan: David Backes came back to town with Boston on Tuesday, making the Blues all emotional. At least, until he got an instigator and a ten-minute misconduct. (Classic Backes!) But this is about the Blues, who managed a mediocre 3-3-0 record on a six-game homestand. They still have a four-point cushion for the third and final guaranteed divisional playoff spot, but it’s been an off-year for the perennial Central contenders.

if you’re a hockey fan: Rivalries stemming from playoff matchups don’t really exist outside of the division anymore, but the Kings and Blues faced off in each of the last two years of the old playoff system, in 2012 and 2013. The 2013 matchup was a lot more exciting than the sweep in 2012, but both went according to form in that LA defended home ice. The Kings’ last home regulation loss to the Blues was almost six years ago.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

for the Kings: Peter Budaj. Missing out on the All-Star Team was just an added insult after his worst start of the season, in which he allowed five goals and looked totally discombobulated against Dallas. Good news: he’s allowed four goals on three other occasions in 2016-17, but has won his next start all three times.

for the Blues: Jake Allen. This is what I saw when I Googled his name today, and it pretty well sums it up:

Allen’s gotten the nod for tonight despite being pulled after one period, and three goals allowed, against Boston. After the departure of Brian Elliott he was expected to seize the starting gig with aplomb, but that hasn’t happened this year.

LEAGUE/WORLDWIDE WATCH

  • Six LA forwards will hit either unrestricted or restricted free agency next year, and there are no slam-dunk replacements in Ontario. Might be a decent time to check out the NCAA free agent pool. [SBN College Hockey]
  • Do the Blackhawks have a rival? I don’t think it’s the Kings, but we can’t agree with their claim that there was no animosity in 2014. I was ALL animosity. [Second City Hockey]
  • The Chargers are officially moving to Los Angeles, and LA has been absolutely... indifferent! The Lightning were alerted to some logo similarities and went on the record to sort things out.

WATCH THIS

Ryan Murphy is not pleased with his Hurricanes teammate.