Tonight the Los Angeles Kings hosted the Atlanta Thrashers in this years home opener. Staples Center debut it’s new state-of-the-art HD scoreboard. The new scoreboard is the largest indoor center-hung HD scoreboard in the world. The pregame festivities included a new laser light show and movie introduction and former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash performing the national anthem.
Though the Kings play was shaky, at best, through the first two periods. They got it together late to rally from an 0-1 hole to beat the Thrashers 3-1 after 2 Ryan Smyth goals and some great goaltending by Jonathan Quick. Quick made 31 saves on 32 shots in route to his the second victory in as many starts.
The first period came and went with a hit post, missed opportunities, and a scoreless tie. Atlanta’s Chris Thorburn’s broke that with a goal early in the second period off a turnover in the Kings defensive zone. Immediately followed by a complete breakdown by the Kings. They couldn’t clear the zone, complete a pass or get virtually anything going for the remainder of the second period.
After the second intermission, the Kings came out of firing in the third. Smyth scored 3:53 into the third period, shortly followed by Jarret Stoll’s go ahead goal just over two minute later. Smyth would later add an empty net goal to close the door on the Thrashers hopes for a victory.
The two keys to the game tonight were physicality and goaltending. The biggest difference between the games against the Canucks and the Flames versus tonight’s game against the Thrashers is the Kings didn’t look intimidated. The Kings out hit the Thrashers 28 to 46 and had them skating on their heels most of the game. Goaltending is going to be a big key to success this season and through the first the 3 games, Quick and Bernier have allowed only 4 goals.
Three Stars of the Game:
1st: Jonathan Quick
2nd: Ryan Smyth
3rd: Chris Thorburn