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Preview: Home at last—and it’s #500

The Kings are finally back at Staples Center to open their season (for the 20th year) and Anze Kopitar will skate in his 500th game.

Anaheim Ducks v Los Angeles Kings Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

How to Watch

Game Time: 3:00 PM Pacific

TV: Fox Sports West

Radio: iHeart Radio

The Opposition: On the Forecheck

What to Watch

  • After being the very last team to start the season, the Los Angeles Kings are now the very last team to open at home. That means, you guessed it, a ceremony.
  • Because Staples Center is also celebrating its 20th anniversary. Outside the building, there is apparently a lot of hub hub and a big hullabaloo. Inside, Opening Day will feature the first of 20 different show-opening-videos.
  • The Kings really struggled mightily against the Vancouver Canucks and Drew Doughty pitched a fit about it. (Was he misquoted? Ehhh, jury’s out but he was sour about losing to whale like that.) He had a bad night—but then who didn’t? Watch for him to overcompensate for a humiliating loss (really, unless you’re a bunch of 15-16 year old junior players, I don’t think you can call 8-2 anything less than incredibly embarrassing) this afternoon by trying too hard and taking dumb penalties staying grounded and keeping his cool.
  • The Nashville Predators are good. Really good. But their defense is scary. Both because it’s good and because it’s bad. They’re not known for their consistency and seem to be playing Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde this nascent season. Which team will show up? It’s a mystery! Tune in today at 3 p.m. PDT find out.
  • Pekka Rinne is likely to get the nod for Smashville. Historically, he has been a very difficult opponent so the Kings will really need to play well in order to beat him. They’ll need to do this while keeping an eye on Kings Killer Matt Duchene and Hot Swede Filip “I Can Score Between My Legs” Forsberg. Oh, and Viktor Arvidsson, who doesn’t get mentioned with as much breathlessness as others, set a franchise record in goals last season with 34. So, you know, it’ll be cake.
  • One thing that’s giving Predators fans hope this season (four games in, but still) is the fact that their power play seems to actually be functioning now. They have three goals in 13 tries and one shorthanded goal against. By all accounts, it looks dangerous. The Kings’ penalty kill, on the other hand, has so far left quite a bit to be desired, allowing three goals on nine opportunities while shorthanded. At times, it has looked discombobulated and messy and way too reliant on the goaltender to bail them out. Special teams will certainly be a factor in which team is more likely to walk away with two points. (For what it’s worth, LA has scored two powerplay goals in 11 chances)
  • It’s been three games. More than likely, especially given the way Todd McLellan coaches, the Vancouver atrocity was an anomaly that, hopefully, all the players have put out of their minds by now. The team is suffering some growing pains behind a young-ish defense (Doughty is 29, Alec Martinez is 32, Ben Hutton and Joakim Ryan are both 26, Kurtis MacDermid is 25, Sean Walker and Matt Roy are both 24 and Tobias Bjornfot is 18. So, youngish) and Jonathan Quick has been a bit slow to start. The team is notoriously sluggish when it comes to getting off the hop, so there’s reason to be confident that they’ll get it together soon.

Lineups

Los Angeles Kings

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Since it’s a matinee game, the Kings did not hold a morning skate. And according to Jon Rosen, “There weren’t any real line rushes [during yesterday’s practice], per se, but rather some drills that were very line-rushy, and the only grouping that appeared to remain intact was Anze Kopitar’s line. Even the effective Clifford-Amadio-Lewis line – a 62.8 CF% in 25 minutes, compared to the team’s 45.9 CF% in the 103 minutes when all three have been on the bench – may be carved up a little bit.”

Nasvhille Predators

Calle Jarnkrok - Ryan Johansen - Viktor Arvidsson

Filip Forsberg - Matt Duchene - Mikael Granlund

Colton Sissons - Nick Bonino - Austin Watson

Daniel Carr - Kyle Turris - Craig Smith

Roman Josi - Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm - Dante Fabbro

Dan Hamhuis - Yannick Weber

Goaltenders

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

(Via Nashville Predators)

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