The Los Angeles Kings and the Montreal Canadiens faced off yesterday in their only meeting of the season. After suffering the loss of Mike Richards and Willie Mitchell in Thursday’s game against the Panthers, Terry Murray was yet again forced to come up with new line combinations in hopes of generating offense, the Kings’ biggest struggle. With Mitchell out, and Alec Martinez still on IR, Davis Drewiske stepped in to play in just his second game this season. Within the first few minutes of the game, the Kings ended up with a 5 on 3 power play opportunity after both Josh Gorges and Lars Eller were sent to the box. The Kings struggled to capitalize on this early opportunity, but when the Habs were awarded their first power play of the night, Tomas Plekanec fired a slapshot past Jonathan Bernier to put his team ahead 1-0.
Heading into the second period, the Kings had outshot the Habs 14-5. The second goal of the night was a result of a turnover by Matt Greene, who tried to play the puck at the offensive blue line, but fell, leading to a breakaway for Montreal. Louis Leblanc and Lars Eller set up a great play for Andrei Kostitsyn who shot a one-timer that was too powerful for Bernier to stop. Shortly after, the Kings got another power play opportunity and cut Montreal’s lead in half when DUSTIN PENNER got his first goal of the season! This was Penner’s first game back since being put on IR November 10th and he proved that he can in fact take direction. If Penner continues to work hard and use his big body to park himself right in front of the goaltender, I think we will finally start to see him come alive and fulfill his potential on this team. Way to go Penner!
Unfortunately, as us Kings fans have had the pleasure of witnessing, you aren’t going to win many games if you only score one goal, and that was the case yesterday. While he gave up two goals, Jonathan Bernier made some big saves that kept his team within reach of the win, but a lack of offense plagued the team yet again. Losing Mike Richards was probably worst-case scenario for the Kings, as he has been the hottest player as of late and leads the team with 11 goals. We saw in last season’s playoffs that this team has the tenacity to bounce back from the loss of a top player, but I don’t know if the determination is as strong considering it’s only December. Richards will be out until at least December 10 with an upper body injury after being hit by Florida’s Sean Bergenheim during a play you can view here.
While not necessarily the reason for the loss, there were a couple of bad calls late in the third that could have made a difference for the Kings. Dustin Penner was sent to the box for goaltender interference in what looked to me like he was pushed. Jarret Stoll was very clearly slashed in the final minutes of the third as shown by his very broken stick, but the refs missed that one, blowing a huge opportunity that could have given the Kings a better chance to tie the game. Carey Price played great in net for the Canadiens and deserves most of the credit for their win, in my opinion. The Kings have a little break here until they head down to Anaheim on Tuesday night to face a struggling Ducks team, now being coached by former Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau. The Kings have won both games against the Ducks this season and look to keep the streak going. Tune in at 7:00pm and let’s hope for a better outcome this time!
Tags: Alec Martinez Anaheim Ducks Andrei Kostitsyn Bruce Boudreau Carey Price Davis Drewiske Dustin Penner Florida Panthers Jarret Stoll Jonathan Bernier Josh Gorges Lars Eller Los Angeles Kings Louis Leblanc Matt Greene Mike Richards Montreal Canadiens Sean Bergenheim Tomas Plekanec Washington Capitals Willie Mitchell