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Game Day Watch: Los Angeles Kings @ Calgary Flames

LA backup Ben Bishop and CGY starter-turned-backup-turned-starter Brian Elliott face off. Imagine saying that a year ago.

NHL: Calgary Flames at Los Angeles Kings Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

HOW TO WATCH

Game Time: 6:00 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: Los Angeles got the goals, but not the defense, in yesterday’s OT loss. They might be worn out, and that is horrendous timing; as per Jon Rosen, this is the furthest trip LA has taken for a back-to-back set in more than five years. On the bright side, the Kings won that one, and this one is equally important to a team on the bubble.

if you’re a Flames fan: Calgary has only dropped five points from eleven games in the month of February, and a win here would put the Flames seven points up (albeit with an extra game played) on LA. This game is just as important for them as it is for us; according to one model, a regulation win for either team tonight bumps their playoff chances up by 10% and their opponent’s down by 10%.

if you’re a hockey fan: We still have over a month left in the season, but the pivotal matchups between the 6-9 teams in the West are now kicking off. LA, Calgary, Nashville, and St. Louis all face off with one another at least once over the rest of the season, and LA and Calgary will play four times as they battle for a wild card entry. Barring an Edmonton or Anaheim collapse, that’s where the playoff spots will be decided. Tune in.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

for the Kings: Ben Bishop. The Tampa Tower (TM) makes his first start with the Los Angeles Kings tonight, and he’s picked a hell of a spot to do it. The Bishop trade might be judged based on the outcome of 5 or 6 starts, and we might not see a more important one than this. Bishops’ winning streak is longer than Calgary’s; his five-game run includes a shutout of the Kings.

for the Flames: Brian Elliott. If you had to bet on goalies who would have a sub-.900 save percentage this far into the season, Elliott probably wouldn’t have been one of them. He’s been solid lately, though, carrying a .917 save percentage and a 6-1-1 record in February as he’s wrested the starting job back from Chad Johnson.

LEAGUE WATCH (okay, TRADE WATCH)

WATCH THIS

Let’s find a hat trick hero tonight.