HOW TO WATCH
Game Time: 7:30 PM Pacific
TV: Fox Sports West
Radio: iHeart Radio
The Opposition: Silver Seven Sens
Battle of the Bad
Tonight’s game has nothing to offer the casual viewer except for a race to the bottom of the NHL standings. The Ottawa Senators surprised some onlookers for a while, but they’ve come back to earth pretty quickly. Since December 1, the Senators have just 12 points, the worst in the league. Yes, worse than the Kings, who have 18 points in that time span. (There are so many bad teams this year that 18 points in a little over a month ranks the Kings as 16th in the league.)
If there’s anything to look forward to tonight, it’s that the Senators give up the most shots in the league—on average, 37 a game, to be exact. The Kings aren’t known for putting the puck on the net a whole lot, but if their players can break through Ottawa’s defense, they could at least make it interesting.
I’m not super into the “pick to click” type predictions, but if I had to hope for any King to break through tonight, I’m going to go with Tyler Toffoli. He’s put a team high 122 shots on goal this season and has only barely been rewarded for it. His shooting percentage of 5.7% is a dramatic drop from his career average of 10.5%, and you’d think it would have to correct itself eventually. Right? Right???
Looks like Alec Martinez is back! We missed your face and also your hockey, I guess. He’ll get himself going just in time for all the trade deadline buzz to start up again, so if you’re rooting for the Kings to start selling off players to gain more pieces for the future, you’re going to root for Martinez (and Jake Muzzin and Derek Forbort, both UFAs after the 2019-20 season) to perform as delightfully as possible.
Sean Walker comes back out, which is fine. Walker’s still a work in progress, especially when it comes to protecting his own zone. His offensive instincts are fine, and will be a big asset for the Kings in the future, if it turns out he’s earned a long-term spot on the team, but getting Martinez started again is important, too.
I’m afraid the team may have accidentally lost Paul LaDue on a past road trip and just isn’t telling anyone. Are you out there, Paul?
The Senators can score, but their patchwork defense and suspect goaltending can’t keep the puck out of the net. Their 173 goals against is the worst in the league, but they’re top 10 in scoring with 138, putting them in the same league as the Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Vegas Golden Knights.
The Senators aren’t a team reaching historic levels of bad, but they’re still not good, and since they don’t even have their own first-round pick, they’re not going to get to reap the rewards of being bad.
Listen, I could give you like 250 more words about the Ottawa Senators, but instead I’ll give you this:
Don't worry friends, there's always next season. pic.twitter.com/UEJC3NZTWB— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) January 6, 2019