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Game Day Watch, 11/9: Tampa Bay Lightning @ Los Angeles Kings

Wouldn’t recommend falling behind against these guys.

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

HOW TO WATCH

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

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

if you’re a Kings fan: An 11-2-2 record helps cover up issues, and in the Kings’ last two games, they’ve fallen behind by multiple goals by the halfway point. Granted, they exploded for five goals in the first half (plus a couple minutes) against Toronto in the game before that, but the starts are surely something to keep an eye on for a team that hasn’t played from behind all that often. The personnel is remaining pretty much the same aside from small switches at the bottom of the lineup, so we’ll stare down anyone who makes dumb turnovers or misses on their coverage and ask them not to keep doing it.

if you’re a Lightning fan: A 12-2-2 record also helps cover up issues, but from everything I’ve heard and seen, those issues don’t matter when you have the league’s two top scorers. Tampa Bay also is carrying a pedestrian set of possession figures (49.7% Corsi For%) but they have an excellent shooting percentage, though in their case, you’d expect some elite finishers to keep that at a lofty level. Short version of the above: Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are playing together and they’re on fire.

if you’re a hockey fan: I always bring it up when the Kings are facing another division leader, but the last couple times, it was early in the season and didn’t feel like a particularly powerful matchup. 15 games in, though, the matchup between Pacific and Atlantic leaders feels like it means something.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

for the Kings: Jonathan Quick. He has, of course, been notably on edge as of late, but he’s still playing quite well. Even in his last two starts, when he gave up three goals apiece to Toronto and Anaheim and antagonized opposing forwards, he also stopped 33 shots in each game and came out with wins. He’ll be in net once again tonight, facing off against...

for the Lightning: Peter Budaj. Yeah, THAT Peter Budaj. Like the Kings, Tampa Bay’s top forwards have been prolific, but their goaltender has been just as instrumental to their excellent record. At least, starting goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has. Budaj has stopped just 47 of 55 shots in his first two starts of the season, both defeats. Budaj, of course, was considerably better last year with the Kings, but his home/road splits were surprising; he only carried a .902 save percentage at Staples Center. He might need to do better than that.

LEAGUE/WORLDWIDE WATCH

  • Goodbye, Vadim Shipachyov.
  • The St. Louis Blues, like the Lightning and Kings, have stayed hot. They also have a pretty great offensive trio. [St. Louis Game Time]
  • Chris Sutter is back in town, if only temporarily.

WATCH THIS

“New Energy”: