LA Kings (1-1) vs. Atlanta Thrashers (1-1), 7:30 PST Fox Sports West
3 things get me especially pumped for tonight's game:
1) It's opening night.
2) It's my first live game of the season.
3) Andrei Loktionov is getting first-line minutes tonight.
Well, not really, he'll probably get maybe 10 minutes at even-strength and then 1st line power play time, but still: LOKI!!!
I can't help but love the little guy. He's Russian, he's great in the corners, he always has a wistful smile on his lips... reminds me of someone else. He's a tricky little sprite with hands of the softest velvet and he's playing with Anze Kopitar tonight. I can't wait to watch him play the first half of the first period until he detaches his arm trying to go around someone.
Of course, I should clarify that I'm only happy that Loktionov is getting first-line minutes against a team like the Thrashers. Against either the Canucks or Flames I'd be terrified. The Thrashers don't really have a top line that could pin the Kings' top line in their zone, though, so Loki should be fine against a team like them. The biggest change Loki will give the Kings is on their rush, as he is both fast enough to catch up to Dustin Brown on the rush and has a good enough shot to possibly score if he finds the puck on his stick. Hopefully he can make some nifty passes in tight to either Brown or Kopitar for some backdoor goals. When the Kings play someone like the Ducks or the Blackhawks, a team with a great top line, I'll be worried.
Everyone always wonders who will get the loudest cheer of the night (Doughty or Kopitar, I'd guess), but my favorite game to play is to guess who gets the quietest. I'm guessing Davis Drewiske. Maybe Jarret Stoll. The only person who could get booed would be Jamie Kompon.
Slash is playing the National Anthem tonight. ...Cool, man.
Prediction: Kings win, 4-2. Goals by Loki (x4).