Here we are, just the third game of the season for the St Louis Blues, and we are already facing our nemesis opponent in the LA Kings. The Kings opened the season at home, raising the 2014 Cup Champion banner (and lowering the Cup itself) before losing to the Sharks 4-0. Afterwards, they lost in OT to the Coyotes and then won two games in a row, beating Winnipeg and Edmonton. In those last two games, they scored 10 goals and allowed only 2. Of course, that was against the Jets and Oilers, not exactly the cream of the NHL crop. Nonetheless, the Kings are likely feeling pretty confident, and probably have a sense of momentum going into tonight's game. Being overconfident is too much to hope for, but you can be sure that they will not surrender if they fall behind.
In contrast to that, the Blues are only on their 3rd game of the season. After a nice rebound win against the Flames on Saturday, they've been off on a 'team building' trip to Palm Springs, CA. With no sense of momentum whatsoever, the Blues will face the defending Cup champs in the first "measuring stick" game of the year. These are the kinds of matchups that Hitch will be judging the team against. And frankly, that a lot of the fans will be judging Hitch and the team against as well. One night is not going to answer all of our questions about this team, but a strong showing would certainly put our minds at ease.
Remarkably, there has been little change in the LA Kings lineup since last year's playoffs. There are just two injuries to report for LA: they will be missing Marian Gaborik (lower body injury) and newly re-signed Jake Muzzin (upper body injury). While it is too soon to be throwing out stats for the season, the "hot" line to watch is "That 70s Line", so named for the numbers on their sweaters. Keep an eye out when Tanner Pearson (#70), Jeff Carter (#77), and Tyler Toffoli (#73) are on the ice. No matter what kind of King you are, though, there are always those vulnerable human moments.
I've discovered a new toy, so don't be surprised to see this a lot this year in the previews. Here is a twitter stream of select beat writers, broadcasters, and bloggers for tonight's match up. Hopefully, if anything newsworthy breaks, it'll be included here.
Blues vs Kings coverage
Final Verse: It's a late one! The opening faceoff is at 9:30 PM St Louis time. The Game Day Thread should drop just before the puck does. The TV broadcast will be on Fox Sports MW, and the radio call will be on Y98 FM. In the meantime, might I suggest the latest episode of Beyond Checkerdome? (cheap plug). Otherwise, enjoy The King and get ready for a (hopefully) fun game tonight. Just don't put too much stock in it.