Game Day Watch, 11/14: Vancouver Canucks @ Los Angeles Kings
It took a month, but the Kings finally tasted defeat in back-to-back games. There could be adjustments tonight.
HOW TO WATCH
Game Time: 7:30 PM
TV: Fox Sports West
Radio: KABC AM 790
Stream: Fox Sports Go
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
if you’re a Kings fan: Jonathan Quick’s fingers (and arms, and legs, and chest) weren’t enough to plug the leaks on Sunday. This was not Jonathan Quick’s fault; he stopped 24 shots before trying, and barely failing, to make a highlight-reel save on Melker Karlsson, then got beaten by a Joel Ward skate deflection. He couldn’t have done much more, but the team defense stands to improve. The Kings have allowed 30+ shots on goal in each of their last 12 games, and though they have gotten at least 27 shots of their own in all but one of those games, it’s a far cry from what we’re used to. It’s worked well so far, but LA needs to tighten up, and should have a chance to do so against one of the NHL’s weakest offenses.
if you’re a Canucks fan: When you’ve been outscored 3-1 at even strength over two games, it’s not the end of the world, right? Sure, but if you throw in three shorthanded goals against and three power play goals against, it looks a whole lot worse. Chris Tanev is out due to a thumb injury as well, bringing some doubt into the Canucks’ ability to weather the special teams storm. Having said that: Vancouver threw 41 shots on San Jose’s goal on Saturday and is well-rested. Maybe you can take back what I said about LA getting under 30 shots against tonight.
if you’re a hockey fan: LA once again gets the benefit of being the only game in town, at least during the second and third period. Otherwise, you get two teams who have exceeded expectations, some guys that might residually hate each other, and exciting rookies in Brock Boeser, Adrian Kempe, and Alex Iafallo.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
for the Kings: Andrew Crescenzi. It seems like this morning’s call-up is likely to make his debut tonight, and regardless of whether he stays up or is rotated out for another Ontario forward in the coming days, it’s a pretty great milestone for the 25-year-old forward. Crescenzi fits well into a bottom-six forward role, although his offensive upside is negligible. It’s already a pretty clear message to Michael Cammalleri and Nic Dowd, both of whom are scratched tonight, and it’ll get clearer if Crescenzi plays well tonight.
[EDIT: As this post was being published, the Kings traded Cammalleri to Edmonton for Jussi Jokinen. THAT is a message.]
for the Canucks: Brandon Sutter. Speaking of bottom-six forwards, he’s become a minor lightning rod in Vancouver after signing a big contract in 2015. Sutter has five points in 17 games and is playing on the fourth line, although he has received praise for his defensive work. He also has a 3.6% shooting percentage after exceeding 9% in each season since his rookie year. Either way, Crescenzi would love to emulate Sutter and might go up against him tonight.
- Montreal picked up Antti Niemi, which is baffling. [Eyes on the Prize]
- Tampa Bay picked up Louis Domingue, which is a little less baffling. [Raw Charge]
- Our sister Wild blog got clickbaity: “One Weird Trick the Wild are Using to Win Games.” [Hockey Wilderness]/
You can see the Fox Sports West production meeting for today’s game on Facebook Live at 4:45 PM. Cool!
“Go behind the scenes of the @LAKings Production Meeting today with us at 4:45p on @FoxSportsWest Facebook LIVE” You can see the producers telling me and @alex_faust and @Patrick_ONeal what to say! pic.twitter.com/m5P4wJgArE— Jim Fox (@JimFox19) November 15, 2017