HOW TO WATCH
Game Time: 1:00 PM Pacific
TV: Fox Sports West
Radio: iHeart Radio
The Opposition: Litter Box Cats
This game preview could probably be all about how great Aleksander Barkov is.
In fact — you know what, let’s get some facts out of the way and then go and watch Barkov highlights. It’ll better prepare us for the game to come. Know thy enemy and all.
(Also, man, he’s real good.)
- This is the last matinee game of the Kings season.
- The Panthers are led in points by Barkov, who has 30 goals and 48 assists (78 points), which is just so many points? Based on the Kings play this year, I had just assumed there was some sort of new rule saying that no one was allowed to score very much anymore. He’s closely followed by Jonathan Huberdeau (74 points) and Mike Hoffman (63 points), who’s been just as good as expected since the Panthers acquired him from Ottawa-via-San Jose.
- Anze Kopitar’s team-leading 48 points would be good for sixth on the Panthers, behind defenseman Keith Yandle and Frank Vatrano, having a career year. Huberdeau has more assists (52) than Kopitar has points. Kopitar leads the Kings with 19 goals — yes, that’s right, a tick over 10 games left in the season and no one on the Kings has cracked 20 goals or 50 points.
- The last time these teams met, the Panthers delivered a 6-1 drubbing to the Kings, who looked lifeless and uninspired. Dustin Brown scored the lone goal for the Kings. Jamie McGinn and Ian McCoshen picked up their first goals of the season for the Panthers. The good news is that everyone in a Panthers jersey has scored this season, so there can’t be any more first goal milestones for the Kings to allow.
- I mean, I guess they could let rookie goalie Sam Montembeault score, but I guess if you’re in a position to be letting the goalie take shots, then you kind of deserve it if he manages to get the puck in.
- Speaking of Montembeault, he may just be the goalie of the future for the Panthers. The team’s currently carrying three goalies, but Roberto Luongo has struggled this season (he’s lost his last five outings) and James Reimer hasn’t played since a shoot-out loss to Arizona at the end of February. With the Panthers’ playoff hopes slipping away, they called up Montembeault, who was 13-14-8 behind a mediocre Springfield Thunderbirds team. While he’s not getting the same buzz as Flyers rookie goalie Carter Hart, Panthers fans should be excited about the arrival of Montembeault to the NHL.
- Ilya Kovalchuk might be scratched tonight, for secret reasons. He played 16:02 against Nashville with three shots on goal, and was on ice for two goals against. If he’s scratched for any reason other than injury — just, like, Willie Desjardins, man, I don’t know what to tell you, but you’re not going to turn Kovalchuk into someone with the defensive prowess of Anze Kopitar at this point in his career. It’s too late, dude, stop trying to make fetch happen.
Just Watch These, He’ll Probably Do A Lot Of This Tonight Anyway
“Tomorrow is a big challenge, going up against a superstar like Anze Kopitar. It’s exciting. He’s so good defensively, and he’ll punish your mistakes.” -Aleksander Barkov pic.twitter.com/kc2Lcmk0Mb— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) March 15, 2019