The Kings had points in 11 straight games. The Kings were 8-0-1 in the first 9 games of their road trip. They beat the defending President’s Trophy-winning Capitals, the defending Eastern Conference Champion Flyers, and grabbed a point against the Stanley Cup Champion Penguins. All the while the offense continued to putter along, with 20 goals in 8 games (a meager 2.5 goals per game). The ‘streak’ was clearly built on the backs of strong defensive play and goaltending.
Then it all came crashing back to reality. OK, well the defensive play was still mostly strong (a few defensive lapses not withstanding). And the goaltending was hardly at fault for the loss in the most recent game. But none of that was enough to prevent the Islanders utterly dominating the Kings to the tune of a 3-0 defeat. It was a depressing game to watch, and one in which the Kings just didn’t seem interested in playing.
This game was a very disappointing end to what can only be described as a successful road-trip. Yes I know the roadtrip technically doesn’t end until the next game at Anaheim, but as unpleasant as Anaheim is, it’s hardly considered a real road-trip. The players all get to stay in their own home, and get some good rest. Although considering the fact that they seem to play better on the road lately, maybe it would be best if they stay in a hotel and treat it as a full-tilt road game.
Regardess, the game was unfortunate, in as much as it was against one of the worst teams in the NHL, and two points would have been mighty nice to end the trip on. Without them, the Kings lose just a step on some of their rivals for a playoff spot, and sit with 68 points in 9th place in the West, tied with Anaheim, Dallas and Minnesota. Every game now is going to be a playoff game, and one can only wonder if the offense will get it’s legs under it in time to make a real run for the playoffs.
The Kings will need Kopitar, Brown, Simmonds, Smyth and the rest to step up their game and start leading a few offensive displays. It would be more than a little satisfying to witness a scoring blow-out, where the Kings just light up the scoreboard, if only to prove they still can. Perhaps the game on Wednesday against Anaheim would be a perfect time! What do you think?