The Phoenix Coyotes returned to Staples Center for the second time in a week and a half, looking to redeem themselves after their 4-3 loss to the Kings the day after Christmas. To be quite honest, the game was pretty boring throughout the three periods as it remained scoreless until overtime. The Kings still have not found a solution to the “scoring problem,” even after coach Darryl Sutter brought in the one and only Bernie Nicholls to assist with the practice yesterday. There were a few good opportunities for both teams but the goaltenders on each end played outstanding, stopping all shots in regulation (27 for Coyotes goalie Mike Smith and 22 for Jonathan Quick).
There are a couple of guys on the team that I have noticed are really starting to step up, despite the lack of goals being scored. You can tell that Justin Williams is frustrated with his goal stats this year (even though he is second in team points). Last season, he had 22 goals in 73 games and this season he has 6 goals in 41 games played so far. While he is still a big part of the team whether he is scoring goals or not, he has been playing with a little extra grit and intensity as of late and he created a couple of promising opportunities. Also, Brad Richardson and his line (Lewis and Loktionov) were doing a great job of controlling the puck throughout the game. I always love to watch Richie play when he’s on top of his game. He’s not the biggest dude…at all, but he is fearless out there on the ice, not to mention probably one of the fastest, more energetic guys on the team. He has 2 goals in his last 6 games, which I know doesn’t sound like a mind-blowing statistic, but given that a total of only 12 goals were scored by the Kings in those 6 games, that means Richardson has been responsible for about 17% of the Kings scoring (Look, I’m a math wiz, who knew?).
But back to the actual game: Each team got a point as it went into overtime, keeping up Sutter’s point-streak in every game coached. This is great and all, but getting that extra point made a huge difference in the standings and it was so important to get the win over the division rivals. As the game went into overtime, I think just about every Kings fan was praying that they could just get it done in OT and save us the anxiety of another shootout. Fortunately, Drew Doughty made it happen. His tendency to be “showy” and maybe a little bit of a puck hog, worked out brilliantly. It wasn’t the cleanest goal, in fact it had to be reviewed because of potential goaltender interference, but they eventually allowed it and the Kings went on to win. This was Doughty’s first goal in 25 games, so let’s hope the floodgates will open after that one. We could really use some consistency from DD in the scoring department.
Jonathan Quick recorded his 6th, yes SIXTH shutout of the season. He leads all goaltenders in this category and there isn’t even anyone right on his tail. Brian Elliott, Tim Thomas, and Jimmy Howard all have 4. He is also in the top 5 of almost every category, excluding save % where he is 6th. Take a look at these numbers:
The Kings are now 20-14-6 at the halfway point of the season, almost exactly where they were at this point last year. So, it looks like the playoffs are a possibility again…I was getting scared there for a minute. But I don’t want to jinx anything, there are still 41 more regular season games and the Kings need to keep up whatever they are doing and add to it. The next game is Saturday afternoon at 1pm against the Columbus Blue Jackets (still the worst team in the NHL…poor Rick Nash). Take a look at DD’s game winner here, the only real exciting play of the game.
In other news, the first six players have been selected to the NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa on Sunday 1/29/12. They were selected by the fans:
The remaining 36 all-stars will be chosen by the NHL’s Hockey Operations Department. Potentials from the Kings are Jonathan Quick, Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson, Mike Richards, and Anze Kopitar. We will be finding out a little later this month. GO KINGS!
Topics: 2012 NHL All-Star Game, Andrei Loktionov, Anze Kopitar, Bernie Nicholls, Brad Richardson, Brian Elliott, Columbus Blue Jackets, Daniel Alfredsson, Darryl Sutter, Dion Phaneuf, Drew Doughty, Erik Karlsson, Jack Johnson, Jason Spezza, Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Quick, Justin Williams, Los Angeles Kings, Mike Richards, Mike Smith, Milan Michalek, Phoenix Coyotes, Rick Nash, Tim Thomas, Trevor Lewis