You would expect the St. Louis Blues to perform with a slight coat of rust having not played for 9 days. The Blues played an aggressive game from start to finish., keeping the Kings off of the score sheet. This is the 6th shutout the Kings have surrendered this season matching their total (6) from last season, 2010-11.
The first period began with the Kings pressing the issue on goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who has now improved to 4-0 against the Los Angeles Kings, with 5 shots in the first 8 minutes. It was about the time I tuned in to the radio broadcast that the tides had turned and St. Louis would go on to finish the period out shooting the Kings 12-6. The stalemate was the foreboding of a tight game.
At the 8:38 mark of the 2nd period, St. Louis Blues veteran, Jamie Langenbrunner scored the only goal of the game on a one-timer past Jonathan Quick right after previous game hero, Drew Doughty, missed a hip check.
The 3rd period showcased the Kings finding a resolution that puck possession leads to scoring chances. Dustin Brown, Colin Fraser, and Justin Williams all had chances and went low on goaltender Jaroslav Halak. Halak was displaying, yet again, how critical he is the Blues resurgence since coach Ken Hitchcock has taken over.
The game ended in a 1-0 flat footed affair by the LA Kings.
Throughout the game, Kings Coach, Darryl Sutter tried every line combination under the lack of St. Louis sun, but the Kings continued to look locked up, flat.
That is the problem with the LA Kings. I cannot begin to fathom how a team does not show up from start to finish in every game, nor has any other expectations for themselves than to be at the top. This stated now much to the chagrin of defenseman Willie Mitchell preaching in opposition to division leader San Jose roughly 3 days ago.
In tonight’s game against St. Louis, the Kings lacked speed, shots and passion. Without them you might as well be Columbus. You have to get over the mental hurdle period by period and strive like every game is a playoff game. These are cliché notions but if this is a continuing trend on the 14 out of 18 games that are away this month, the trade deadline wouldn’t be the soonest mark Kings fans will be looking forward to. All Kings fans, however, have faith in their team.
The lack of speed in the top six may be the first step to activating the immovable mountain that is Dustin Penner. He is most likely used to speedy forwards using him as screen- Penner would simply lift his leg with the same effort as a lazy dog; fire hydrant adjacent. Mike Richards has not been the same since his concussion. Hopefully he will turn the page. Justin Williams’ scoring streak ends at 9 games (11points).
There is no rest for the weary as the Kings take on the Carolina Hurricanes at 4pm PST in Raleigh, NC. Kings fans get to witness potential trade deadline acquisition, Tuomo Ruutu first hand. The game will broadcast on Fox Sports West, per usual.
Maybe the Kings will right the ship in Raleigh.