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Preview: Kings begin four-game road trip by facing league-leading Capitals

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Washington Capitals v Los Angeles Kings Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

How to Watch

Game Time: 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time

TV: Fox Sports West

Radio: iHeart Radio

The Opposition: Japer’s Rink

What to Watch

  • Our long national nightmare is over: Carl Grundstrom has been ca—— no wait, I’m sorry, I’ve been informed that wasn’t actually the thing that everyone was worried about. No: it’s that Drew Doughty is back in the lineup after missing the last three games. Doughty confirmed that the injury was something he’d been playing through for a while, that it was aggravated in the game against the Flyers, and when it continued to be an issue in practice, the decision was made to sit out. Alec Martinez shouldered a lot of the minutes while Doughty was out and looks to stay on the top pairing after his return.
  • Carl Grundstrom will in fact draw into the lineup. Matt Luff was returned to the Ontario Reign and Nikolai Prokhorkin will sit out his second consecutive game as a healthy scratch; this follows a benching during the third period against Arizona. Prokhorkin has only two points in his last 10 games and hasn’t scored a goal since December 2 against the Anaheim Ducks. Grudstrom has 20 points in 30 AHL games this season and had a three-point night against the San Diego Gulls prior to being called up.
  • In case it wasn’t clear that Alex Ovechkin is still a goal-scoring machine, his 37 this season are tied for second in the league. He’s at 695 overall in his career, and I guess the only good news there is that it seems statistically unlikely that Ovechkin will victimize the Kings tonight for numbers 696 through 700. (He does have two consecutive hat tricks in his last five games, though.)
  • As with the last time these teams met, though, it’s not just Ovechkin you need to watch out for. John Carlson has a ridiculous 62 points, leading the Capitals in scoring. Last time the Kings and Capitals met, Carlson scored two of the teams’ three goals and was generally a terror all up and down the ice.
  • The Capitals have lost two straight games at home, which — even though they’ve been sandwiched around several road wins — seems to qualify as a small crisis for the literal best team in the league.
  • I’d say the road trip gets easier, with the Kings facing off against the Islanders (fifth in the Metropolitan), Rangers (seventh in the Metropolitan), and Devils (eighth in the Metropolitan and only two points ahead of the Kings overall) but, hey, stranger things have happened.

Lineups

Los Angeles Kings

Quick in net.

Washintgon Capitals

Holtby in net.