HOW TO WATCH
Game Time: 5:00 PM Pacific
Radio: iHeart Radio
The Opposition: Hockey Wilderness
Early game, early deadlines, so let’s make this a quick one.
- The Kings’ lineup stays the same from their win against Pittsburgh. Can’t entirely argue with that, but also: sorry, Austin Wagner.
- Still not convinced that the team didn’t leave Paul LaDue at a rest stop somewhere.
- Over on Twitter, I’ve been sharing my Least Favorite Stat, AKA: how many players on the opposing team have more points than our esteemed scoring leader, Anze Kopitar. This is less of an indictment of Kopitar himself than it is of the team overall, particularly their complete lack of structure and execution when it comes to getting quality scoring chances. Anyway, it’s a highly embarrassing thread; on many other teams, Kopitar’s 31 points wouldn’t even be sniffing at top five in scoring. Enter the Minnesota Wild:
Bless the Wild for being a fairly low scoring team, thus making Today's Sadness Stat not so, well, Sad:— sarah. (@goorgoahead) January 15, 2019
Kopitar: 31 points
He'd be third on the Wild, behind Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund.
This almost feels reassuring. Soothing.
- The Wild score only marginally more goals than the Kings (128 goals for the Wild, as compared to a league low 104 for the Kings). They had a four-goal outburst last night against the Flyers and still lost. In their previous game, they only mustered two goals against Detroit. Those two games have essentially been complete disasters for the Wild, and while they’re still adjusting to life without Matt Dumba in the lineup, that’s not really an excuse for games that make your coach say this:
- So the Wild are looking to reverse course after two losses to bad teams. They’re certainly capable of being a better team, and handed the Kings their first loss of the Willie Desjardins era. At the time, it felt like a pretty demoralizing loss, but, well, we’ve experienced much worse since then.
- On the flip side of the coin, the Kings have to be feeling good after a win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. It wasn’t exactly their strongest effort of the season--giving up a shorthanded goal early in the first period should disqualify the game from those considerations--and relied largely on Jonathan Quick doing Jonathan Quick things. But still, it was encouraging to see an outburst of activity from Jeff Carter, who’s been disappointing this season, injury recovery or no. There was also the added bonus of depth scoring from players like Brendan Leipsic and Alex Iafallo, which is what the Kings are going to need to ever return to a competitive place in the league.