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Game Day Watch: Game Three, Vegas Golden Knights @ Los Angeles Kings

LA gets two well-rested defensemen tonight. Can they find some offensemen while they’re at it?

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Vegas Golden Knights Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

HOW TO WATCH

Game Time: 7:30 PM Pacific
TV: Fox Sports West, NBCSN, CBC, TVA
Radio: KABC AM 790
Stream: Fox Sports Go, NBC Sports (cable subscriptions required)

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

if you’re a Kings fan: Did you write off Game 2 as a loss before the game even started? I tried that strategy, and guess what? It didn’t make that double overtime loss hurt any less. Jonathan Quick has been sensational, stopping 81 of 84 shots through two games, but he hasn’t been able to get any support. Unfortunately, even a team missing three of its top four defensemen should be able to score more than one goal in 96 minutes, and it never looked like the Kings were close to doing that after Anze Kopitar whistled a golden chance just wide early in the first overtime. Time for the forwards to emerge on their own ice.

if you’re a Golden Knights fan: Feeling good, right? They say the series hasn’t really started until the home team loses, but so far the Golden Knights have shown no signs that they’re going to lose at home. The only major concern is that Vegas has largely failed to solve Quick, and while Marc-Andre Fleury has certainly been good enough to keep winning tight games, he hasn’t been tested all that much.

if you’re a hockey fan: Please, just a little offense this time? That’s all we want.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

for the Kings: Jake Muzzin. This morning, he skated with Drew Doughty and wore a normal jersey, both strong signs that he will return to the Kings’ lineup this evening. I’d say “not a moment too soon!” except that LA really needed him on Friday. They really need him today, too, and John Stevens is electing to put together the only two guys who didn’t play a bunch of minutes in Game Two. I like the strategy, and though neither Muzzin nor Doughty will just be able to fly past their opponents, they may be able to take advantage by playing big minutes with favorable matchups at home.

for the Golden Knights: James Neal. It’s hard to believe that a guy who’s scored 20+ goals in ten straight seasons could become a forgotten man on an expansion team, but the torrid pace of Karlsson, Marchessault, and Smith have boxed him into a somewhat secondary role. In overtime, though, it was Neal making a clever entry and setup to Erik Haula, beating a defense that to that point had been remarkably disciplined. I don’t know how effective he’ll be tonight, but he’s capable of making one play that beats the Kings.

PLAYOFFS WATCH

  • The San Jose Sharks again beat the Ducks in Anaheim, setting themselves up beautifully for a place in the second round. Southern California has combined for zero wins and three goals in four games. [Fear the Fin]
  • There were more suspensions through three days of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs than there were in the entire 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Nazem Kadri was hit with a three-game suspension and the Maple Leafs responded with... a 7-3 loss in Game 2. Ouch. [Pension Plan Puppets]
  • That just follows in a trend of the playoff favorites dominating in their early-round series. Along with Boston, Winnipeg and Tampa Bay have overwhelmed their opponents in their first two games, while Nashville took their 2-0 lead in only slightly less-impressive fashion.

WATCH THIS

CAL PETERSEN, HOW?