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Game Day Watch, 1/4: Kings, Flames, and a Plea for a Stress-Free Evening

Did you know Matthew Tkachuk’s been suspended twice this season? More importantly, are you surprised?

Calgary Flames v Los Angeles Kings Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

HOW TO WATCH

Game Time: 6:00 PM Pacific
TV: Fox Sports West
Radio: KABC AM 790
Stream: Fox Sports Go (cable subscription required)

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

if you’re a Kings fan: I don’t know about you, but I find these matchups with Calgary to be exhausting. I have to keep my eye on some underage kid to make sure he doesn’t try to take anyone’s head off. I have to keep my eye on some tiny wizard to make sure he doesn’t singlehandedly steal a win away in the final minutes. I have to keep my eye on the goalie to make sure he doesn’t chop a leg in half. And I have to keep my eye on the standings to make sure that Calgary hasn’t somehow eliminated the Kings despite months of self-reassuring. It’s stressful, is what it is, even with LA 11 points up. Can everyone just cool it?

if you’re a Flames fan: The Flames might not be stressed about this specific matchup, only because they’re stressed about several other things. Johnny Gaudreau has struggled over the past few weeks. Mike Smith has rebounded from an awful start to December, but he’s 35 and has started more games than Jonathan Quick. Michael Frolik, an integral part of a very effective second line, is on IR. And the Flames have to pass four teams in a jam-packed playoff race.

if you’re a hockey fan: Let’s just skip to Players to Watch for what you want to read about.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

for the Kings: Drew Doughty. Keep an eye on his workload and see whether he’s feeling any effects from a suspension-worthy hit by Patrick Maroon, which forced him to play only 26 minutes on Tuesday. Especially do this because he’s been as good as ever these last few nights, and because he’s stuck on 99 career goals. Also, because he’s facing at least one player who has shown a full willingness to target his noggin.

for the Flames: Matthew Tkachuk. In the ten months since Mike Milbury blathered on about Tkachuk had “embarrassed” the Kings, he’s been suspended three times, two of those for plays where he was sitting on the bench at the time. He had never scored against LA before his two-goal performance against the Kings in October, but he also had two goals in the Flames’ last game, on New Year’s Eve against Chicago.

LEAGUE/WORLDWIDE WATCH

  • It’s been a rough Flames tenure for Jaromir Jagr. What kind of update are we talking about here, though?
  • The Coyotes added (Freddie) Hamilton, to join (Luke) Schenn and (Mario) Kempe.
  • Embellishment fine! It’s for Frederik Andersen, who earned a second violation on New Year’s Eve. [Pension Plan Puppets]

WATCH THIS

Learn about one of the more underappreciated jobs in hockey.