The Los Angeles Kings took on the Winnipeg Jets in Winnipeg, Manitoba for the first time in 15 years. Back in 1996, the current Los Angeles Kings players were all under the age of 20. The Kings weren’t too familiar with this team because even when the Jets were playing in Atlanta as the Thrashers, they had only played the Kings three times in the last six years. Since the two teams hardly played each other, it was going to be interesting to see how the game would go. The Jets have the third best home game percentage in the East and the Kings have been 4-0-1 in their last five games. However, after no goals from either team in all three periods of regulation, the game went to a sudden death overtime in which the Jets’ Evander Kane came through with the game winning goal. It was the 20-year-old’s 18th goal of the season.
This was Darryl Sutter’s first loss as the Kings head coach, but even so, it wasn’t a loss in regulation. The Kings managed to get one point out of the game, giving them three out of four points for their short road trip. The dads of the players were along for this trip and proved to be lucky for the Kings the night before in Chicago. Some might speculate that maybe the Kings were sleep deprived as a few of the dads admitted to snoring and keeping their sons up; not to mention the team getting in around 2:30 am yesterday morning. All excuses aside, the Kings most definitely need to work on their power play.
Throughout the course of the game Thursday night, the Kings had five different power play opportunities, including a 5 on 3. They failed to capitalize on any of these advantages and it was disappointing to say the least. Winnipeg had their chances too with 3 power play opportunities including a 5 on 3 chance. The Kings seemed like they were showing more energy in their penalty killing then in their power plays.
The energy was not lacking what-so-ever at the MTS Centre. The crowd was extremely passionate and loud. They were constantly cheering “Go Jets Go” and rooting for their team. When they weren’t encouraging the Jets, they were booing Drew Doughty or antagonizing Jonathan Bernier. The Jets’ fans booed relentlessly every time Doughty even touched the puck. People were speculating that it was because Doughty was chosen 2nd in the 2008 draft while Atlanta had third pick ended up with Bogosian. The real reason they were booing him was because the Jets’ fans pick one star of the other team to harass during eacg game. When Jim Fox interviewed Drew after the first period and asked him about being booed, Doughty said he’s not sure why they were booing him but he likes getting noticed and getting attention.
The game had a lot of momentum from both teams, a lot of speed, and shots on goal. But with no shots making it in the net, both backup goalies proved to be just as outstanding as their usual starting goalies. Jonathan Bernier played an amazing game blocking 26 shots on goal until the final 27th shot that ended up winning the game. The Kings had 31 shots on goal, none of which successfully made it past the Jets’ goalie Chris Mason. Looking on the bright side, the Kings received a point out of the game and now they’re back to Los Angeles.
Next up is a set of 6 home games, kicking off with the Kings playing the Vancouver Canucks at Staples Center with a 7:00 PM start on Saturday December 31st. It will be the last game of the year and seeing as it’s New Years Eve, maybe they should make a resolution to start taking advantage of their power plays.
What do you guys think would make some good new years resolutions for the team?? (Comments welcome below!)