Game Day Watch: Kings, Coyotes, and a Juicy Goaltending Battle
Plus, the Kings pick up a college free agent, and I try way too hard to make #Hartburn a thing.
HOW TO WATCH
Game Time: 7:30 PM
TV: Prime Ticket
Radio: KABC AM 790
Stream: Fox Sports Go (requires cable subscription)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
if you’re a Kings fan: Look, do you really expect me to give you something other than “this game is WAY important”? I guess you do, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. In that case: the Kings have to play defense tonight without the injured Jake Muzzin, and I wrote about that. If Stevens does in fact leave his defensemen’s ice time fairly consistent, he’ll need good showings from Christian Folin and Kevin Gravel. I wasn’t ready for them to be as pivotal as they’re gonna be; Folin has settled in quite well, all things considered, but Gravel is shaking off some rust. Start with the blueline, and if they’re fine, LA will be fine.
if you’re a Coyotes fan: Are the Coyotes... good? They certainly have been lately, going 15-9-1 in their last 25 games, and they’ve stirred up some long-dormant optimism in the Arizona fanbase. In case you weren’t sure, they took down Tampa Bay and Vegas on the road in their last two games, winning both while outshooting their opponents. They’ve found some stability up front and on defense, and it seems to be paying off.
if you’re a hockey fan: LA sits on 91 points after 77 games. In past seasons, they’d be two wins away from a playoff berth. This year, there’s no guarantee, especially with four of those five games coming against teams fighting for a playoff spot. This is the only one that isn’t, but Arizona can make this race even messier, and several other Western foes will watch this one with interest.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
for the Kings: Tobias Rieder. Since his arrival from Arizona, he’s flown under the radar despite teaming frequently with Jeff Carter and getting looks on all four lines. (Case in point: we talked about ten other forwards more than we talked about Rieder on last night’s podcast.) The speedy forward has put in some nice shifts as of late, but his line left something to be desired on Monday. However, Rieder, Carter, and Tyler Toffoli will get another shot to provide a spark.
for the Coyotes: Darcy Kuemper. The goalie who went the other way in the Rieder trade has struggled to find his footing in Arizona, with a 2-1-0 record against the Vancouver Canucks and an 0-4-1 record against everybody else. He hasn’t had a chance to face LA yet, though, so a little extra motivation and a history of success in LA might buoy him tonight. (It also helps that he’s going to be facing Jack Campbell, who replaced him as LA’s backup.)
- The Kings have landed their first college free agent of 2018, as defenseman Daniel Brickley has agreed to terms with the team. His two-year contract will basically be a one-year deal, as this final week and a half will burn a year of that deal. While I’d be shocked if he actually played, he will be with the team down the stretch. You can read a full scouting report from Craig Custance over at The Athletic if you’re so inclined, though he gave a quick rundown on Twitter too./
Different kind of defenseman. Strong transition game. Good snapshot that gets pucks through from the blueline.— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) March 27, 2018
- Pepto-Bismol caught wind that Anze Kopitar was chugging their product midgame and sent a nice care package. This is also my excuse to push a different hashtag than the #WeHartKopitar one LA is using to promote their MVP candidate. (The motion was seconded multiple times, so it counts now.)/
Motion to make #Hartburn the official "Kopitar for MVP" hashtag https://t.co/U9mPenMUe4— Eric 💎 👑 (@EricJFTC) March 28, 2018
- For the second straight night, LA got a helping hand in the playoff race, as the Philadelphia Flyers (who are locked in their own bubble battle) defeated Colorado. The Kings now have the slimmest of leads on both the Ducks (tiebreaker) and Avalanche (one point)./
The WHL playoffs are under way, and though the Spokane Chiefs are down 2-1 in their first-round series, Jaret Anderson-Dolan got to score this nifty goal.
🚨— Spokane Chiefs (@spokanechiefs) March 29, 2018
5:31 | 2nd
🥅 - Anderson-Dolan
🍎🚫#WHLPlayoffs #PORvsSPO #GoChiefsGo pic.twitter.com/4sao9i1y2T