First of all, thank you to our friends at Fox Sports West for bringing Bob Miller and Jim Fox into our living rooms last night for the second half of the home-and-home, Freeway Faceoff series between the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks. These guys are world class and leaps and bounds above the alternative (John Ahlers and Brian Hayward of the Ducks broadcast team). The second thing I want to point out is, apparently the Kings don’t want their fans to have time to relax during any of their games (with the exception of the two blowouts against the Minnesota Wild and the St. Louis Blues). Even in those games, we were sweating through the first period and a half! So, here we were again, tied 0-0 going into the second period. The Kings looked absolutely flat in the first. I’m not sure what was said, or who said it, during the intermission but there was some sort of conversation that acted as kindling for the Kings offense. Mike Richards (6) opened the scoring just 54 seconds into the second period with a perfectly placed short side backhander. Debbie Downer (aka Andrew Cogliano) tied it up for the Ducks on a goal that probably should have been waived off. It sure did look like Saku Koivu took his time getting his hands off the stick of Jonathan Quick. Nevertheless, we were all tied 1-1.
At about the 7 minute mark of the second, the Kings found themselves shorthanded. At this point, we were probably all thinking the same thing, “I’ve seen this before and this is the point where the meltdown begins!”. Simon Gagne (7) had other thoughts as he skated in on a shorthanded breakaway, waited out Dan Ellis and scored the Kings first shorthanded goal of the season. 2-1 Kings and, at this point, Dean Lombardi and his offseason acquisitions are looking brilliant but fans are still not able to breathe properly. Such would be the case for the remainder of the game. Scratch that, the 17 minute delay when the lights wouldn’t come on was a pretty relaxing time… I grew up in Anaheim and, let me tell you, this occurance was right on par for that city! There’s a reason I moved to San Diego, but I digress.
Speaking of the third (and most eventful) period, after the lights came on, “The Kid” Slava Voynov (3) came up huge when he put the Kings up 3-1 at the 2:45 mark. For now, Voynov is looking fantastic for the Kings and has provided more offense in 7 games than some of the “goal scorers”. Eventually though, this is going to be an issue, a good issue, but an issue just the same. Kings management is going to have to make a tough decision on who gets waived or traded. There’s no way they can keep sending this kind of talent back down to Manchester, particularly when there’s dead weight on the IR. The problem; NHL GM’s aren’t stupid and they see the logjam the Kings have so they’re going to low-ball any trade scenario. My solution, and I’m glad you asked, send Dustin Penner through waivers if nobody will take him off our hands. I love the guy’s heart and determination but, this one just isn’t working. Ok, time to digress, once again and get back to the game.
The Ducks made things quite tense when they got two goals in about a 5 minute span. Corey Perry (7) got a power play goal to pull the Ducks back in the game at 3-2 and Debbie Downer (4) tied the score 3-3. Again, I had flashbacks to the meltdown against the San Jose Sharks from last year. This is a different team though and, when the big guy needed to come through most, he did. Enter Anze Kopitar. The determination he showed when scoring his team-leading 9th goal of the season, the game winner, was absolutely brilliant and indicative of the type of player this guy is. Heart, soul, intelligence, tangible, intangible – this dude has it all. Even if you’re not a Kings fan, this is the type of guy you silently cheer for. Kopitar was also on the ice for the penalty kill, courtesy of Ethan Moreau. Moreau, being the veteran he is, knows better than to allow himself to get into a situation like that. For that matter, Terry Murray shouldn’t have had him on the ice during the 4 minute power play when the Kings had the opportunity to seal the deal. Regardless, Kopitar actually got his stick in the lane to break up a Ducks pass and the speedy Richards jumped on the puck and sent it all the way down the ice into the empty net for the Kings second shorthanded goal of the evening and his 7th goal of the season. And, with a gritty, determined performance… KINGS WIN!!!
It’s a good day when you look at the standings and see the Kings at the top of the Pacific Division. Next up, Saturday at 1 PM the Kings will take on the Detroit Red Wings where we can put a little distance between us and them. Since the Stars are finally starting to play like the Stars, hopefully we can grab a nice buffer in the points column. Until Saturday, let’s chat on Twitter or in the chat box below. Also, if you’re a true LA Sports Fan, make sure you check out The 110 Report! If you know the LA Area, you know what the 110 encompasses. For sports within that geographical area, these guys have it covered from every angle. Have a look.
Go Kings Go!
Tags: Anaheim Ducks Andrew Cogliano Anze Kopitar Bob Miller Brian Hayward Corey Perry Dan Ellis Dean Lombardi Debbie Downer Detroit Red Wings Ducks Dustin Penner Ethan Moreau Fox Sports West Freeway Faceoff Jim Fox John Ahlers Jonathan Quick Kings Kings Fans Los Angeles Kings Manchester Monarchs Mike Richards Minnesota Wild NHL Saku Koivu San Jose Sharks Simon Gagne Slava Voynov St. Louis Blues Terry Murray Twitter