The Los Angeles Kings took on the Columbus Blue Jackets with an early 1:00 pm start this afternoon. The result was a 1-0 shut out loss for the Kings. The Kings had 20 wins, double the 10 wins that the Blue Jackets had, prior to today’s game. The Blue Jackets have the fewest points in the NHL with just 25 points. It was the Kings first regulation lost under head coach Darryl Sutter.
It would be safe to assume that playing a team that only had 10 wins this whole season would be an easy win, but unfortunately that was not the case. Some people considered this game a “trap game”. “A trap game is one where a team is looking past their current opponent towards the one they will be playing the next week. In those cases, the team may not be as prepared or as focused as they should be, and they may not cover like they should.” (source) Some people were worried about an early start, but Jarret Stoll told Fox Sports reporter Patrick O’Neal that it was just about them getting a hard start, they have t0 not only be individually ready, but ready as a team as well. I guess the “curse” still stands for afternoon games.
The game got off to an exciting start within the first minute, a scuffle started between the teams resulting in penalties for both teams. Derek Dorsett of the Blue Jackets and Kyle Clifford from the Kings each received two minutes for roughing. Later, the Kings proved to be successful in killing off back-to-back penalties half-way through the first period. Kings got a chance on a power play with 3:06 left in the first period and then became a four on four with a minute left in the power play thanks to a Kings penalty. Justin Williams just couldn’t seem to stay out of the penalty box, with two penalties in the first period. Neither team could capitalize on their power play chances, and the first period ended with a score of 0-0.
The second period of the game left the Los Angeles Kings trailing 1 -0 after a goal from Columbus Blue Jackets’ Grant Clittsome with 8:35 left. The only excitement the Kings had was when enforcer Kevin Westgarth dropped the gloves with Blue Jackets’ Jared Bowl and exchanged a few punches for a pretty good fight. That little exchange left both men with five minute penalties. Nothing new to report on with the Kings not scoring on any of their power play opportunities.
A few minutes into the third period Kings got the chance to score with a 5 0n 3 advantage for 38 seconds. No amount of wind up in the slap shots could get past the Blue Jackets goalie Curtis Sanford. Fans at Staples Center were booing the Kings after another failed power play. As a fan myself, I get that the power play has been EXTREMELY frustrating to say the least. But I can’t say that the Kings didn’t look like they weren’t trying out there. Just none of the shots were going through. Kings got a power play with 1:25 left in the game and while I was hoping for some sort of power play miracle, and crossing my fingers, they couldn’t score. Even with a 5 on 3 advantage and an empty net, they couldn’t cement a goal. Los Angeles has been successful in four out of sixteen times when they have had a two man advantage.
The Kings gave up all eight power play chances in the game. None were more frustrating then the last one at the end of the game in a desperate attempt to tie up the game. Kings are #4 in the NHL in defense as seen in their great penalty kills. On the other hand, the Kings are #30 in offense, which can likewise be seen in their lack of scoring on the power play. While it’s great they can kill off pretty much all of their penalties, their lack of offense isn’t going to help them win.
It was a tough loss to take when the Kings should have been walking away with an easy two points, and instead left with their heads hung low in frustration to an upset fan base. Let’s just hope they can win fans back with a victory over the Washington Capitals this coming Monday at Staples Center.