HOW TO WATCH
Game Time: 5:00 PM Pacific
TV: Fox Sports West
Radio: KABC AM 790
Stream: Fox Sports Go (requires cable subscription)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
if you’re a Kings fan: After a dramatic finish in Boston, can the Kings stay engaged on the last stop of a long road trip? After a quiet start to the season, Tyler Toffoli has come alive, scoring three goals in the last two games (including, obviously, this beauty). He and his PIC Tanner Pearson appear to be developing some real chemistry with rookie center Adrian Kempe, as the 70’s kids suddenly find themselves playing veteran leaders, with their “dad” Jeff Carter out for a spell.
if you’re a Blues fan: With 19 points through 12 games played, the Blues are tied with the Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning atop the NHL standings. Despite a number of injuries to start the year, St. Louis has received a shot in the arm from their depth players. Aside from center Oskar Sundqvist, each skater in their top 12 has at least one goal on the season, with six skaters potting at least three. Their goaltending tandem of Jake Allen and Carter Hutton has been great, combining for a .933 save percentage on the year.
if you’re a hockey fan: The Kings and Blues have both played a heavy possession game over the years, though each team has opened things up a bit this year under new(ish) coaches. They have not met in the playoffs since the Kings bounced them in 2013, so it would be hard to qualify this as a rivalry. Still, the teams have had some intriguing chess matches over the years and one of them will walk away from this game with the most points in the Western Conference.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
for the Kings: Alex Iafallo has received heaps of praise playing on the top line as a rookie, despite failing to light the lamp thus far. He nearly rewarded coach Stevens’ faith in him with some great individual efforts during the exhilerating OT in Boston, coming oh-so-close to his first NHL goal. With Kopitar and Brown playing their best hockey in years with Iafallo to their left, it is only a matter of time before the rookie gets on the board.
for the Blues: The Blues have their own surprising rookie playing an important role. Just turning 21 years-old, Vince Dunn has stepped in admirably for injured defencemen Jay Bouwmeester. Playing 16:45 a night, the left-shot has two goals and an impressive 53.1% Corsi. The Blues have mostly sheltered the young blue-liner, but he is beginning to see some power play time as their faith in him increases.
- The league’s First Star last week was clearly John Tavares, netting two hat tricks in three games. The New York Islanders star center, of course, is still without a contract next season. Will the Islanders uncertain future cost them their franchise player? [ESPN]
- After a year of development for their young prospects and a few savvy player acquisitions during the offseason, things were supposed to be looking up for the Arizona Coyotes. Instead, they find themselves 11 games into the season without a single victory. [SBNation]
- It’s not all roses for the red-hot Vegas Golden Knights. The team has suspended center Vadim Shipachyov after he left their AHL affiliate without permission. Vegas inexplicably sent the forward down after only three games, where he had one goal. He agreed to a 2 year, $9 million contract early in the offseason and was expected to be one of their top two centers. [TSN]
There is no way any of us are tired of this yet, right? Face-off aficionado Jarret Stoll breaks down Kopitar’s incredible draw for the crew at Sportsnet.