I refrained from a pre-game today because, well, it was the same stats against the same team in less than a week favoring the home team. There is one thing you can be certain of with the Los Angeles Kings, and that is the certainty of uncertainty- will they compete tonight consistently and maybe score some goals?
Well they did score some goals but defense was top-shelved. Or bottom-shelved, either way somewhere a teams worth of half-eaten Wheaties lay astray and warm on the kitchen table.
The rollercoaster euphemism is a poor way to describe the LA Kings season because it implies some iota of fun. I would say the season is a teacup ride of nauseating full-circled disappointment. Circling the drain, barf-bag adjacent, I am not controlling the cup, only participating fun for the first 5 minutes “fun.” I understand that I am writing this post game frustrated and jaded from a really tough loss but that is what the season is- one major Simon Gagne missing disappointment.
The Kings came out roaring with a 3-0 performance over twenty and with signs that they were not only in goaltender Mike Smith’s head but within the teams as nasty man and twitter cyber bully, Paul Bissonette tried to change the tide with a fight against Drew Doughty. Of course, Mr. Knight in Shining Armor, Justin Williams, road his silver steeds to his teammates defense. At this point of the game Kings fans felt pride in the passion their team was proclaiming.
Cue the collapse…
The second period began with Jack Johnson taking a holding penalty 28 seconds in. The ensuing powerplay made the score 3-1. Seconds later the puck nearly crosses the blue line but Jonathan Quick’s paddle coddled the puck close to his heart. That’s a sentiment that would soon fade as the Coyotes pull within one on another consecutive powerplay goal on the first consecutive shot by Radim Vrbata.
Fast forward to the third…Vrbata would go on to score a second goal for this 30th of the season and to tie the game, forcing overtime. The goal came on a 5 minute, game misconduct for a high hit on Gilbert Brule from the Colonel himself, Kyle Clifford. It was a hard hit but was it high? I am not sure but I would assess nothing more than 4 minutes, which would theoretically negate the tying goal as it came in that extra minute. Possibly more simply, Jonathan Quick should have made that late save. He definitely had an off game.
In overtime the Kings defense was yet again porous and had minimal time in the offensive zone. Yada, yada, yada. We’re going to a shootout.
Here is where I get mixed up. Our All-Star goaltender is usually stellar in shootouts but his ability goes missing on arguably two uncreative shots. The first, Ray Whitney scores wide right as Jon Quick moves left. The second on the third shooter just ekes in behind a stumbling Quick.
On LA’s side, Coach Darryl Sutter elects to have the rotation of Richards, Brown, and Johsnon. Why Anze Kopitar wasn’t chosen I would have to assume, either, there is a punishment for the first goal mistake on Vrbata or Sutter was continuing to mix it up. Brown was the only one to score.
The positive is that our Captain took the call out from the coach seriously and contributed tonight. He had 1 goal, 1 assist, 5 shots, 4 hits. Doughty got on the board too.
I hope the Kings make a trade early tomorrow morning for some scoring help just so they do not open themselves up too much on defense. The like of Jeff Carter would garner confidence in not only Mike Richards play, but ease the tension on the rest of the team to score goals. I am all above individual points any longer for player. I am about winning. We need win in high-pressure situations and the team needs to believe it can perform in those situations. If they cannot do that under their coach or rally for themselves than we have something much worse than a lack of offense, we have a lack of character. That is a far more detrimental quality that transcends a locker room; heckling players like a bad conscience over their shoulders.
Tomorrow they play in Colorado. I hope they can stop two Avalanches in one day and find their Pride, Passion and Power.