When I was recently a guest on a Kings podcast, I speculated that Coach Hitch would split the two Kings games amongst the goalies. I was right there, but I also said that Martin Brodeur would get the home start, which was the wrong move. I thought that Hitch would hedge his bets by playing the elder goalie in the game where the Blues had the last line change, and could then limit Marty's exposure by controlling the matchups. Goes to show what I know.
As it turns out, Jake Allen got the home start, and the Blues spotted the Kings a 2-goal lead before roaring back and winning 5-2. Jake played pretty well there - the first goal happened when there were about 7 skaters in Allen's crease, and the second was on a Kings power play. I usually don't get worried about those. But, as well as Jake played, the unquestioned star of the game was Vladimir Tarasenko. The man they call "Frank" notched another hat trick on the season, the first Blues player to have 2 in the same season since Hull in 96-97.
But that was then.
Tonight, we're starting right back from scratch. Tuesday doesn't count for anything. Two tribes will enter the arena for a whole new game. The Blues will have Martin Brodeur in net, of course. It wasn't very long ago that Marty was playing for the Stanley Cup in and against LA. I'm sure there's some emotional memories there. We'll be adding T.J. Oshie back to the lineup, but losing Jaden Schwartz to a foot injury. Forward Dmitrij Jaskin has been called up from the AHL club in Chicago. I'd like to see more of the Oshie-Backes-Steen line, they seemed to have started to click more lately. We'll need some more offensive bang for our buck.
From LA, we can expect pretty much the same lineup, including Jonathan Quick back in goal. Tuesday's game wrapped up a 1-3-1 road trip for the Kings, so they'll want to use the return to home ice as an opportunity to bounce back. There's reason to think that they can: while their road record is a miserable 4-7-5, the Kings have gone 11-4-1 at home. There must be something magical about having Matt Perry watching you play.
I don't think this requires a lot of setup- we all know who to watch for, and what the Kings are capable of. Now, for sure, the Kings are aware of what the Blues can do. Can they do it again?
I can't wait to find out.
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Final Verse: A late game tonight on the Left Coast. The puck drops at 9:30 PM St Louis time, and the Game Day Thread should drop shortly beforehand. Plan ahead, and get the caffeine handy. The TV broadcast is on Fox Sports MW, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120 AM. Please join us for the GDT chat, won't you? If you're worried about the LA response, Relax.