The Kings were handed their third straight loss as the Edmonton Oilers came to town Thursday night and shut them out 3-0. Jonathan Quick had a great first period stopping 10 shots and helping his team kill 3 penalties, however the real goaltending story surrounds Nikolai Khabibulin. After having an incredibly off 2010-2011 season at 10-32-4, the 38 year-old Oilers goalie has started to resemble his former self. He is now 6-0-2 on the season, leads the NHL in goals against average at 0.98, and is second in save percentage at .963.
Halfway through the second period, none other than former King Ryan Smyth scored to put the Oilers on the board at 1-0. In reality it was a deflection off the stick of Alec Martinez, who had a bit of an off night, but now it is time for him (along with everyone else) to really step up and get the Kings out of this slump. The fact that the Kings have been shutout their last two home games and lost 4 of their last 5 games is beyond frustrating to me. I don’t care if it’s early, something needs to change. The Kings roster is overflowing with amazing talent. We have three Olympic Gold Medalists in Mike Richards, Drew Doughty, and Simon Gagné; three Silver Medalists in Dustin Brown, Jack Johnson, and Jonathan Quick; and Anze Kopitar, who would of course be an Olympian if Slovenia had a hockey team. All that said, this team needs to find a way to work together and get points because it is MORE than possible.
The Oilers went on to score two more goals and cap the night off at 3-0. The second goal was a gift from the refs, really. It was clear interference on Quick by the “goal scorer” Lennart Petrell but the refs called it a good goal on the ice, despite a very upset crowd and an even more upset Jonathan Quick. Regardless, that goal and the next one scored by Corey Potter could have been waived off and it still wouldn’t have mattered. The simple fact is that you aren’t going to win games if you can’t score goals. It is no secret that Coach Terry Murray puts a lot of emphasis on good defense and he has done a great job of that, but it is time to switch up the focus and get his team scoring more goals.
The next biggest issue is one that I have been trying to avoid in hopes that he would eventually find his groove. Dustin Penner, a 4 time 20+ goal scorer has turned out to be 240 pounds of worthlessness. Come on Penner!!! What is it going to take to get you going? I had hoped that last night’s game against his former team would do the trick and he wasn’t awful, but he certainly could have been a lot better. But then again, so could everyone. I have a feeling (well, more like a wish) that once the whole team starts picking things up, Penner will fall into place and hopefully give me a reason to shut up about him.
The Kings have a tough schedule coming up as they face Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins (8-3-3) on Saturday followed by last season’s playoff rivals, the San Jose
Barfs Sharks on Tuesday (7-4-0). Time to get it going! Click here for highlights of Kings vs. Oilers 11/3/11
Tags: Alec Martinez Anze Kopitar Corey Potter Drew Doughty Dustin Brown Dustin Penner Edmonton Oilers Evgeni Malkin Jack Johnson Jonathan Quick Lennart Petrell Mike Richards Pittsburgh Penguins Ryan Smyth San Jose Sharks Simon Gagne Terry Murray