1) Handzus vs. Stamkos
I imagine the Kings will try to get Michal Handzus' line out against the St.Louis-Stamkos-Downie line at every opportunity. It'll be interesting to watch because that's not a great match-up for that line: Handzus has trouble against quick players. What Handzus' line does have, though, is size. The Kings' shutdown line averages 6'3", 209 lbs.; the Lightning's best line averages 5'11", 191 lbs. That's like a whole Oscar Moller. Handzus, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Wayne Simmonds are going to try to get the puck in deep and grind out a shift, keeping Steven Stamkos 180 feet from the Kings' net. What will win: speed or size?
2) Kopitar vs. Lecavalier
Anze Kopitar is 6'3", 219 lbs. Vinny Lecavalier is 6'4", 219 lbs. Both are expected to carry their lines, play tough minutes, and open up their other scoring line for opportunities. Both can take over a game; both are good defensively; both are moon-faced. Lecavalier has always been what Kings' fans hoped Anze Kopitar turned out to be; now he's what Kings' fans fear Kopitar will become. They should be fun to watch if they go up against each other.
3) The Kings' Defense vs. The 1-3-1
For the first time this season, the Kings are going to have their best defense on the ice:
Willie Mitchell - Drew Doughty
Rob Scuderi - Jack Johnson
Davis Drewiske - Matt Greene
On paper, that looks like one of the best defensive corps in the NHL. Meanwhile, the Lightning have won rave reviews with their new look forechecking scheme, crafted by new coach Guy Boucher. The idea behind the system (I think, it's hard to get info on it and I haven't seen Tampa play yet) is that a defenseman jumps to the halfwall while a winger covers the slot on the forecheck, pressuring the defense and forcing a turnover. It'll be interesting to see how the Kings' defense, who with the exception of Doughty and Johnson are kind of slow-footed, respond to that type of pressure.
3) Drew's back.
Our long national nightmare is over. Go Drew!
4) The Kings haven't played in like 3 days.
Jesus Christ, guys, fucking play already.
Prediction: Kings win, 5-3. Goals by Parse, Brown, Williams, Doughty and Handzus. Steven Stamkos flagellates himself before trying to murder Tom Hanks.