Game Day Watch, 3/20: Los Angeles Kings @ Edmonton Oilers
LA hasn’t won a regulation game over a Western team in nearly a month. They kinda need to.
HOW TO WATCH
Game Time: 6:00 PM Pacific
TV: Fox Sports West
Radio: KABC AM 790
Stream: Fox Sports Go (requires cable subscription)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
if you’re a Kings fan: Since a dramatic third-period comeback against Anaheim on February 25, the Kings have played ten games. They played three against the Eastern Conference and won all three. Against the Western Conference in that stretch, the Kings are 1-3-3, and in the one win they needed overtime. Yes, that means that LA’s opponents — often direct competitors for the playoffs — earned 13 of 14 points against LA.
(Oh, and ten of the last eleven are against the West.)
if you’re a Oilers fan: With the Kings flailing down the stretch in 2014-15, Edmonton had three chances to earn a moral victory and hurt LA’s playoff chances. Limping to a 24-44-14 finish, Edmonton got blown out 5-2 on March 3 and, memorably, 8-2 on April 2.
They then came back on April 7 and won 4-2, providing the first blow in a 1-2 punch that sent LA to the ninth spot in the West. LA’s outlook is much bleaker, but it’s much the same situation: one win for the Oilers against the Kings, and LA is probably toast.
if you’re a hockey fan: Oh, hell, don’t bother. lf the Kings lose I don’t want you to see it, and if they win I don’t want your input on whether or not this matters. We’ll welcome you back on Thursday with open arms, I promise, but it might be best if you sat this one out.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
for the Kings: Marian Gaborik. LA’s 2014 trade deadline acquisition was getting plenty of ice time with Anze Kopitar and Jarome Iginla but since Darryl Sutter shuffled again, he’s played 13:05, 13:49, 12:54, and 11:18 in the last four games. Gaborik has played sixteen seasons now, and in each of the first fifteen he had double-digit goals. Right now he has nine.
for the Oilers: Andrej Sekera. LA’s 2015 trade deadline acquisition is second in icetime and tied for first in points among Edmonton defensemen. Sekera hasn’t played in a playoff game since 2011, at the age of 24, but if he can help best his (briefly) former team he’ll get a chance to return.