Having won three-straight games and five of their last six games, the Los Angeles Kingscurrently find themselves a shade out of the playoffs with 18 points just a single point behind four teams, three of which are division rivals. While there’s no reason to be satisfied with their performance, the Kings’ recent turnaround has certainly warranted a lot of excitement for the next little while – and while many factors are at play, I owe Los Angeles’ recent success to one area in particular.
While we’ve seen a few instances of it over the last few games, the Kings’ ability to connect on their passes was especially evident during yesterday’s win. Los Angeles’ first two goals yesterday came as a result of perfect one-timers and it set the tone for the game.
While the recipients of the first two goals have already been playing very well thus far this season, the ones who set up both goals have been struggling so far. Just 58 seconds into the game, captain Dustin Brown opened the scoring, receiving a beautiful feed from Justin Williams who after a slow start, has a goal and six assists. His perfect pass yesterday simply underlines the skill Number 14 has and what he’s capable of doing. The Kings and their fans are confident that Williams can continue his recent success.
On the next goal, as I alluded to in an article on Friday, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were indeed “rediscovering their brotherly love.” Richards, like Williams, has also had a slow start to the season but now has four goals and seven assists with his most recent helper coming yesterday as he fed Carter to finish off a spectacular one-timer to put the Kings up 2-0.
On the fourth goal, Dustin Penner fed Anze Kopitar and while the pass wasn’t as smooth, the Slovenian picked up the puck, adjusted quickly and composed himself for the goal. Even Dustin Penner had a slow start that saw him become a healthy scratch for a number of games. While he only has two assists thus far, Penner’s contributions are just as important as anyone else’s and hopefully he will turn a corner soon.
In addition to the crisp passes that resulted in goals, the Kings spent most of the afternoon making near-flawless passes resulting in quality shots on net at the least. There are plenty of other positives to take from yesterday’s win. For example, the Kings were able to register their first shorthanded goal of the year, Jonathan Quick was outstanding as he stopped 23 of 24 shots and while they did allow a goal, Los Angeles’ penalty killing was great, including a crucial shot block by Jarret Stoll which resulted in said shorthanded goal by Trevor Lewis to regain the home team’s two-goal lead.
As per usual lately, the Kings defense was so in sync that it’s hard to believe that they’re missing three of the top blueliners but nevertheless, the silver-and-black or, in yesterday’s case, the royal blue-and-gold, are looking gradually better with each passing game and their situation couldn’t be any better as they face the Pacific-leading Anaheim Ducks in what the Kings hope with be payback after their ugly loss across town just the other week.
If the Los Angeles Kings keep connecting as smoothly as they did yesterday, this abbreviated season will only look more promising with each passing day as tape-to-tape passing is not easier said than done. It’s just as easy done as it is said.