Game Day Preview #20, Los Angeles Kings @ St. Louis Blues

Blues coach Mike Yeo is on the hot seat. Can the Kings make it even hotter tonight?


Game Time: 5:00 PM Pacific
TV: Fox Sports West
Radio: iHeart Radio
The Opposition: St. Louis Game Time


Our colleagues over at St. Louis Game Time may have put it best in their game preview: Meh.

These are two teams who are struggling who maybe shouldn’t be struggling quite so badly, and yet here we are. The Blues are being undone by questionable goaltending; the Kings are being undone by … well. Everything. And so it is that two Western Conference powerhouses are trying to remain relevant, with no actual clear plan to do anything about it.

And so: meh.

Normally we’d give you a game preview with a little more substance, but man, is it ever hard to get excited about this game tonight.

At Least We Scored Some Goals

In Nashville, the Kings scored more than one goal for the first time since November 6 against the Ducks. (The second “goal” in the 2-1 win over Chicago was a shoot-out goal and thus will not count for these purposes.)

The Kings held the Predators off the scoresheet for the entirety of the first period, something that many felt was improbably. They even came out of the second period with a lead. But penalties (looking at you, Derek Forbort) did the Kings in, and three unanswered goals in the third sealed it. Your goaltender has to be your best penalty killer and, in that regard, Cal Petersen wasn’t quite up to the task.

Then again, the Predators also put 43 shots on goal. Not much anyone, even Jonathan Quick, could have done to save that effort.

So on one hand, the Kings peeled back the lid on some offensive touches. Their goals were all scored from up-close, so players are getting to the net, they’re scoring the dirty goals that sometimes are all you can get.

That’s a good sign.

Can they be just as productive on offense tonight against the Blues? Can they, I don’t know, stay out of the penalty box to avoid letting the league’s ninth-ranked power play have a crack at Cal Petersen and his glove hand?

I’m hoping so, if only to keep me from having to go “meh” at the end of the night.

The Opposition

On a list of “Teams Who Want To Fire Their Coach Immediately,” the St. Louis Blues are definitely up at the top. Mike Yeo’s seat has been hot almost since the instant he took over head coaching duties. It got hotter still after Joel Quenneville was fired by the Blackhawks. With every loss that piles up, the flames lick a little higher. The goaltending is meh, Vladimir Tarasenko somehow only has six goals (sorry I just guaranteed him a hat track tonight), and, oh yeah, everyone is broken:

The Blues have lost three of their last five, including a 1-0 shutout to the Chicago Blackhawks and a shutout to the Sharks on Saturday. In fact, in their three losses, they’ve scored two goals total. If you back it up even more to their last 10 games, the Blues are 5-5-0. They’ve scored seven goals across those five losses.

No one seems to know what kind of team this year’s Blues are, least of all the Blues. They’ll be physical, and they certainly have players who can score goals — this season, Ryan O’Reilly could easily match his best totals from his disastrous seasons in Buffalo — but the defense has been a big stumbling block for the Blues. With Jake Allen doing Jake Allen things — that is, being inexplicably bad — the Kings have a chance to beat up on a struggling goalie.

Allen’s being outperformed by journeyman Chad Johnson in net, but it seems like Allen gets tonight’s start anyway. He’s a career 5-2-0 against the Kings, so if the Blues are looking for him to bounce back, well, it’s no surprise that he may be getting the call tonight.

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