On home ice last season, they were an impressive 22-14-5. This season, while they haven’t played as many games and due to the lockout, won’t have as many outings in front of their home fans, the Los Angeles Kings are proving that a little home cooking can go a very long way.
Despite having their banner-raising opening day afternoon ruined by the Chicago Blackhawks back on January 19, the Kings did not lose another regulation game at Staples Center until last night when the Dallas Stars got the better of them in a 5-2 final.
When they did lose to Chicago on opening day, it was a tough pill to swallow. Not only was their long-awaited special day spoiled but it was against the Blackhawks who some experts noted that head coach Joel Quenneville was on the hot seat, Patrick Kane would be traded and goaltender Corey Crawford wasn’t good enough to return his team back to the Promised Land. I don’t know about the rest of you but I took quite a bit of solace in the following weeks since the Hawks’ record-setting start made everyone realize just how dangerous they really are. It may not turn that loss into a win but hey, what’s done is done. Heck, as I’m writing this now, they have yet to lose a regulation game this season. With that said, while they may have lost to the Harlem Globetrotters, if you will, the Los Angeles Kings are no Washington Generals.
Before losing last night, the Kings were on a six-game winning streak at home scoring 22 goals over that span with three of those coming from explosive third-period comebacks that should show the rest of the Western Conference (and the league) that this is a team not content to stay afloat. As the old playoff adage goes, “Win and you’re in,” the silver-and-black knowing that they don’t have to sprint during a marathon. With that said, they still want to make some noise along the way, showing opponents that if they’re up one, two or three goals at whatever point in the game, that, to borrow the all-too-famous line from Baseball Hall-of-Famer Yogi Berra, “it ain’t over till it’s over.”
Three of their most convincing wins during last week’s homestand came against the Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings. After dominating the Avs from start to finish, the Kings were hoping to avenge their early February loss in Anaheim and in response they downed the high-flying Ducks with a convincing third period where they scored three times backed up by the solid goaltending of Jonathan Quick. Then against Detroit, after allowing a lucky goal, Jonathan Bernier settled down and played up to his full potential while setting his team up for two late third period to turn the tables and win.
We’ve seen a lot from the Los Angeles Kings on home ice that we didn’t see much of for the first few weeks of the season. They’ve been tougher, more in sync with each other and most importantly, they’ve been resilient. While they lost to a division opponent last night, the Kings can at least take one on the chin knowing they were simply beaten by better goaltending and a future Hall-of-Famer whose guns are still a-blazin’ at 41.
Before hitting the road, the Los Angeles Kings are at Staples Center twice more playing host to the Calgary Flames in both games. They’ve already proven how effective they are in front of their home fans so now, the Kings simply need to solidifying that – take the good they’ve been doing and continuing it and even take it up a notch. You know they can do it, I know they can do and most importantly, the Los Angeles Kings know that they can do it.