Game Day Watch, 2/9: Los Angeles Kings @ Florida Panthers
Only one direction to go from here... we assume.
HOW TO WATCH
Game Time: 4:30 PM Pacific
Radio: KABC AM 790
Stream: Fox Sports Go (requires cable subscription)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
if you’re a Kings fan: OK, on paper, it seems like this matchup offers a remedy to what ails the Kings. LA has won 12 of their last 14 games against Florida, and the Panthers are not in the playoffs as of today, so it’s a potential rebound opportunity. But Florida’s problem isn’t their defense, which is in the top half of the league and better than Tampa’s or Philly’s. LA will have to score on a decent goaltender, whether it’s Roberto Luongo or James Reimer.
if you’re a Panthers fan: A three-game winning streak has spirits up for the Panthers, who are ninth in the East and fourth in the (weaker) Atlantic Division based on point pace. Two of those were 2-1 victories sandwiched around a 6-5 win over Ottawa. Also, it’s Pro Wrestling Night and Marlins Night at the arena, and even better, the stingy owner of the Marlins is rumored to be selling the team! No wonder they’re feeling good.
if you’re a hockey fan: Bye week fun! This is Florida’s first game out of their five-day bye, and it’s LA’s last game before their own five-day bye. So if you like watching wonderfully rested teams on winning streaks as they take on tired teams on losing streaks, this is your jam! Plus, it’s a chance to hear one final call from legendary broadcaster Jiggs McDonald, who was thrilled to participate in LA’s 50th anniversary season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
for the Kings: Anze Kopitar. He skates with Tyler Toffoli and (rubs eyes to make sure) Andy Andreoff to start things off tonight. Kopitar’s been very effective with Toffoli this season, as they’ve been on the ice for five goals for in their 103 minutes together at 5-on-5. Andreoff has spent a grand total of 14 minutes with Kopitar, but there was a goal in those 14! Fans gripe about Kopitar because he can’t transform all his wingers into All-Stars, but today offers a chance for him to change things up.
for the Panthers: Jonathan Huberdeau. Huberdeau made his season debut for the Panthers in the team’s previous game, and he posted six shots and the game-winning goal against Anaheim. He played 17:30 despite his long layoff, and if Florida wants to give their struggling offense a boost, they’ll give him more tonight.
On a loop!
A drive-by from @amartinez_27 during @tytoff16 interview. Live TV. Love it. #LAKings #GKG pic.twitter.com/aAsc9qpKbQ— Jim Barrero (@jimbarrero) February 4, 2017