YOU CAN FIND ME IN…:
Tonight marks the first of three meetings with the Blues, and the first of two at St. Louis’ Scottrade Center. The Blues will make their lone visit to STAPLES Center on January 9, and the Kings will return to St. Louis to close out the season series on February 18. St. Louis, second in the Western Conference and third in the NHL, are closing out a five-game home stand tonight; they’ve won their last three games, and are coming off of a 3-2 OT win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. The Kings are closing out a two-game road trip; they’re coming off of a 4-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night.
ST. LOUIS: The Blues have been hot on home ice this season, where they’ve yet to lose once in regulation, posting a 4-0-1 record through five home games. St. Louis has earned points in nine of their 11 games, including eight of their last nine. Can the Kings hand the Blues their first regulation loss on home ice with a win tonight?
LINEUP: With tonight’s game being the second in a back-to-back set, the Kings held an optional skate this morning at the Scottrade Center. Jordan Weal and Derek Forbort were the only skaters to partake, Forbort remained on for extra work. It is unclear whether or not Jamie McBain will be in tonight’s lineup; he missed Monday’s game to be with his wife for the birth of their son, Carter. Both goalies took to the ice this morning; Jhonas Enroth left first, and is expected to start tonight.
PEARSON – KOPITAR – BROWN
LUCIC – CARTER – TOFFOLI
GABORIK – SHORE – LEWIS
CLIFFORD – ANDREOFF – NOLAN
MCNABB – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – MARTINEZ
EHRHOFF – ???
(MCBAIN - FORBORT)
GOOD FOR GABORIK?: Through 11 games this season, Marian Gaborik has recorded just two points (1G, 1A). “You win games with goals, obviously,” Gaborik told Jon Rosen Tuesday morning. “But a lot of things come into play before that, and of course I don’t like my production, that’s the bottom line, I need to be better, but just the overall game, it comes down to the little things, doing the little things right, and just go from there.” Last season, Gaborik appeared in two of the three games the Kings played against the Blues, hitting the scoresheet often, registering a whopping five points (4G, 1A) during those two contests. Gaborik scored the only two goals for the Kings last season in the club’s only visit to Scottrade Center, a 5-2 loss. Can Gaborik score tonight in St. Louis?
ENROTH FOR TWO: Jhonas Enroth is expected to make his second start with the Kings tonight. Enroth, 1-0-0, made 39 saves in his debut on October 22 in the Kings’ 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks at the SAP Center. Enroth has made one career start against the Blues, that coming on February 5, 2015 with Buffalo, when he made 27 saves on 29 shots faced in the Sabres’ 3-0 loss. Enroth has never played a game at St. Louis’ Scottrade Center.
BABY VS BLOGGER: Who does TRH baby pick to win tonight’s game? Read the entire Royal Half Gameday Preview HERE!
STOPPING VLAD: Scoring sensation Vladimir Tarasenko will return to the Blues’ lineup tonight after missing one game because of a lower-body injury. Tarasenko leads St. Louis with 10 points (6G, 4A) scored this season, he is expected to skate on the right side of Alexander Steen and Jori Lehtera tonight. Can the Kings keep him quiet in his return?
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Network, with John Forslund and Brian Boucher on the live play-by-play call for puck drop just after 5:30PM PST. As always, you can listen to Daryl Evans and Nick Nickson call the game live over the radio airwaves on AM 790 KABC.