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Game Day Watch, 2/1: Kings, Predators, And Dramatic Returns

Filip Forsberg is back after a monthlong absence. Jonathan Quick is back after a slightly shorter one.

(SP)U.S.-LOS ANGELES--ICE HOCKEY-NHL-NSH VS LAK
I love this photo so much.
Xinhua/Zhao Hanrong via Getty Images

HOW TO WATCH

Game Time: 5:30 PM Pacific
TV: NBC Sports
Radio: KABC AM 790
Stream: NBC Sports (requires cable subscription)

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

if you’re a Kings fan: Darcy Kuemper thinks the Kings are “ready to take off.” Considering a seven-game road trip is on the immediate horizon, I would favor this happening! After one of the more impressive wins LA has posted this season, the Kings have a chance to make this a streak with a win tonight, considering home games against Arizona and Edmonton are up next.

if you’re a Predators fan: Mike Fisher just unretired, which is pretty crazy. It won’t make a difference tonight, as he’s still getting in game shape, but it could provide a boost tonight. The Preds are probably fine in terms of standings position, as they’re six points clear of the last wild card with games in hand on every team, but they would love to avoid the meat grinder that awaits the Central’s #2 or #3 seed.

if you’re a hockey fan: Two big names return to the ice tonight. On a slate crowded with competitive games — Boston vs. St. Louis, Vegas vs. Winnipeg, and Tampa Bay vs. Calgary among them — LA-Nashville offers an especially competitive matchup. 12 of the last 14 games between the teams have been one-goal affairs, and 8 have gone to overtime. (Also, it’s on national TV. Easy!)

PLAYERS TO WATCH

for the Kings: Jonathan Quick. Darcy Kuemper isn’t about to steal anyone’s job, but with the backup coming off two stellar starts against fellow Western bubble teams, all eyes will be on the Kings’ #1. Quick missed those two games with what was called a “nagging injury,” which allowed him to serve his one-game suspension for missing the NHL All-Star Game. I don’t doubt he was hurt, so I hope he’s feeling okay heading into a tough matchup.

for the Predators: Filip Forsberg. The Swede returns from a monthlong absence during which he missed eleven games, including the team’s last game against Los Angeles. He was on pace for career highs in every offensive category before his injury, because he’s good.

LEAGUE/WORLDWIDE WATCH

  • Jaromir Jagr is going home, but he ain’t done. [Sportsnet]
  • Why is each Western Conference bubble team optimistic? Matchsticks and Gasoline asked the writers, including me. [Matchsticks and Gasoline]
  • 31 Thoughts, as usual, is illuminating. [Sportsnet]

WATCH THIS

Bit of a throwback here for Paul LaDue, who scored his first career NHL goal on Tuesday. He’s scratched today (?) but we’ll let you watch this feature on him anyway.