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Off-Day Watch 12/16: A Predictable Goal

Everyone saw that Tanner Pearson goal coming a mile away, right?

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The only way Tanner Pearson’s goal against the Kings could have been more storybook would have been if it stood as the game winner.

It nearly did, too — Alex Iafallo’s game tying goal at 12:30 in the third period took away that distinction, but it was close.

But how many times have we seen it before? A former King goes to his new home, and whether he does or does not immediately start lighting up the scoresheet, he almost always finds a way to make his old team pay.

And, oh, boy, Pearson did just that.

Aside from a brief hot streak when he first joined Pittsburgh, Pearson hasn’t been putting up a huge amount of points, and much like in LA, he’s been shuffled around the lineup, spending time bouncing around the top three lines. He’s spent the most time with Evgeni Malkin (184:13 TOI) and Phil Kessel (95:07 TOI), but for his goal, he was on the third line with Riley Sheahan and Derick Brassard. It probably didn’t matter who he was on the ice with, though; this is probably a goal he’s scored on Quick tons of times at the Toyota Sports Center, only this time, it counted.

This season aside, it’s not often that players look Drew Doughty look silly, but Pearson did it. And yeah, maybe there was a little clutch-and-grab from Pearson as he worked to protect the puck and fend off Doughty. It’s a call that doesn’t always get made, and went unpenalized this time around. The patience he showed to get Quick to commit to a shot that wasn’t there yet looked like a move we’ve seen time and time again from Jeff Carter.

So the Kings gained a point but still lost. Pearson got his feel-good goal. Jonathan Quick made one sad little stick tap against his crossbar. A goal against, from a player he knows all too well.

Who would have drawn it up any other way?

Kings Things

A better effort as the game went on netted the Kings one point, but weird lineup decisions cost them in overtime. [Jewels from the Crown]

For the second game in a row, the Penguins coughed up a 3-1 lead and needed overtime to win. [PensBurgh]

Post-game notes and quotes from Jonathan Quick, Alex Iafallo, Jake Muzzin, and Willie Desjardins. [Kings Insider]

Jonathan Quick didn’t exactly mince words in his post-game quotes. [The Athletic]

The Kings are trying to keep a positive outlook despite yet another losing streak. [Los Angeles Times]

The Ontario Reign fell 4-3 in overtime last night, but there were still bears:

Elsewhere in the World

Time to put the focus on women’s hockey players and their achievements, rather than which NHL players they’re related to. [The Ice Garden]

What makes for a good market for an AHL team? [EP Rinkside]

I mean, sure, fine, whatever:

30-some games into the season and the Dallas Stars are still trying to figure out exactly what kind of team they are. [NHL]

On Brock Boeser’s journey to the NHL. [Sportsnet]

In the “The Internet Is Good” column, an idea online to bring black women together spawned the Black Girl Hockey Club. 40 women traveled to attend a Washington Capitals game, and more outings are planned in the future. [NHL]

On the 100th anniversary of his birth, a look at legendary Russian coach Anatoly Tarasov. [Conway’s Russian Hockey]

Patrik Berglund has been suspended indefinitely by the Buffalo Sabres for failure to report. [Die By the Blade]

Alex Ovechkin: Unstoppable. [RMNB]

Aleksander Barkov: Very, very good.

The Buffalo Beauts are shooting the puck more, and it’s leading to results. [Die By The Blade]

Some insight into the team fine system for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Will a certain hoodie-wearing coach ever pay up? [The Athletic]

Meanwhile, in Chicago, even the mascot is getting frustrated. [Chicago Tribune]

Evening Entertainment

We’ll give you two picks today.

First, the Buffalo Sabres take on the Boston Bruins at 2:00 PM Pacific, airing on the NHL Network. The Bruins have been decimated by injuries to key players this season, but David Pastrnak is a delight to watch, leading his team with 39 points in 32 games. On the other side of the ice, the Sabres have been one of the best stories in hockey this season. They currently sit third in the Atlantic and are only getting better as Rasmus Dahlin grows into his role on the team.

Second, you can watch two of the top three teams in the league in what’s sure to be an excellent game. Tampa Bay (51 points, first place) heads to Winnipeg (44 points, third place) to see if they can continue their dominant eight-game winning streak. That game starts at 4:00 PM Pacific and is the free game of the day on NHL.com.