Game Day Watch, 10/5: Philadelphia Flyers @ Los Angeles Kings
HOW TO WATCH
Game Time: 7:00 PM Pacific
Radio: KABC AM 790
Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra (requires cable subscription)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
if you’re a Kings fan: How about literally everything? Anze Kopitar, Tyler Toffoli, and Jake Muzzin looking for strong starts to better seasons. Adrian Kempe and Jonny Brodzinski suddenly being way more important. Alex Iafallo, Oscar Fantenberg, Christian Folin, and Kurtis MacDermid making Kings debuts. Mike Cammalleri back in action in LA. Jonathan Quick looking for a much less eventful season opener than last year’s. Pick your favorite storyline.
if you’re a Flyers fan: A 5-3 win over the San Jose Sharks has optimism through the roof, though a continued reliance on veterans on defense has the fanbase asking a few questions about Ron Hextall’s team. Michal Neuvirth will start after Brian Elliott won his Flyers debut yesterday, and the Flyers’ attack will hope to do as well at even strength as they did on the power play.
if you’re a hockey fan: The Kings and Flyers are much less reminiscent of each other than they used to be, but each team’s leading goalscorer in 2016-17 played a bunch of games for the other team, the Kings’ coach and the Flyers’ GM cut their teeth for the opposing squad, and in the previous ten matchups, each team has won five games and scored 18 goals. Plus, you’re watching all the hockey you can get your hands on right now anyway.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
for the Kings: Drew Doughty. The preseason conversation has revolved around lots of other players because Doughty is usually such a sure thing on defense. In an effort from the coach to keep Doughty fresh, his average ice time dropped by nearly a full minute from 2014-15 to 2015-16, and again from to 2016-17. Tonight, with Alec Martinez out and two rookies debuting on defense, we might be getting 30-Minute-Drew again.
for the Flyers: Nolan Patrick. He’s not the Flyers’ most dangerous weapon, or their most relied-upon forward; heck, three other guys posted three-point nights last night, including Wayne Simmonds, who posted a hat trick. But Patrick, last year’s #2 pick, is the player I’m most interested in seeing. He didn’t really stand out all that much against the Sharks in 13:30 of ice time, and on night two of a back-to-back they might need him to do so.
- Connor McDavid was the other player with a hat trick yesterday, and to their credit, our sister Oilers blog is fairly restrained in their hype. [Copper and Blue]
- The Maple Leafs blog, on the other hand... [Pension Plan Puppets]
- Marian Gaborik and Alec Martinez are out for LA tonight, but it could be worse. Just ask the Ducks. [Anaheim Calling]/
STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM— Anaheim Calling (@AnaheimCalling) October 5, 2017
NOW WE FOUND SHOVELS https://t.co/MXjPIqfAoQ
The game will open with a tribute to the victims, first responders, and all others affected by the mass shooting in Las Vegas, including Christiana Duarte, a 22-year-old fan services associate with the Kings who was one of the 59 people killed on October 1. It’s a somber note to open the season on, but a necessary one.