Last night’s game was one to forget for the Los Angeles Kings. While both their offense and power play had strong nights, their defense didn’t. In fact, Los Angeles’ back end downright imploded. With Matt Greene and Willie Mitchell both sidelined, the Kings’ defensive unit has become an intractable issue early this season and up until last night’s loss in Anaheim, there wasn’t much to worry about.
From last night’s opening faceoff, something appeared to be off. The usually reliable Jonathan Quick allowed two goals on three shots against the Anaheim Ducks before being pulled. Both goals Quick really should have had but considering how integral the 27-year-old has been for the Kings over the last few years, especially all of last year, it’s hard to blame Quick for his off-night. In fact, it’s hard to blame his replacement either as despite allowing four goals on 21 shots, Jonathan Bernier made his first appearance with the Kings since March 31 of last year and being that there was no preseason, this really was Bernier’s first showing of the year.
While I must give credit to Anaheim’s offensive attack, the Kings defense did make things a little too easy for their cross-town rivals. Kyle Palmieri’s game-winner late in the second was the result of a crisp passing play while on the man-advantage. Kudos to the Ducks for working their magic on said goal but where was the Los Angeles defense?
While Matt Greene is sidelined for the next few months, Willie Mitchell’s status isn’t quite as severe although it’s anyone’s guess as to when he will return. I’m not going to say that the Kings need Mitchell back right away, as great as it would be to have him back, but I’d rather wait and see what happens on Tuesday night when Los Angeles travels to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets. Should the Kings rebound and have a good game, then there’s no need to panic. Of course, if last night’s result in Anaheim is a sign of things to come, then something needs to be changed. Even if that means dressing call-up Andrew Bodnarchuk, then so be it.
It’s very easy to look at a game like last night’s and be discouraged. After all, it’s not every day the Kings allow seven goals. With that said, there were some positives to come out last night’s game like a rejuvenated offense in the early going, two power play goals and a pair of tallies by captain Dustin Brown.
I maintain my position that the Los Angeles Kings are getting better with each game even if one or two areas made it look like a disaster.
The Ducks may have earned early-season bragging rights but there are still three meetings to go between the two rivals but for now, the Kings leave California to head east and hope some time away from home (beginning with a meeting with a former teammate) will work in their favour.