A few days ago Dustin Brown was being hammered for not scoring any goals. Then he finally got one against Detroit. All of a sudden he is the offense.
The Los Angeles Kings tested fan loyalty tonight with a sickly 4-1 loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Nearly a carbon copy of the effort against the Red Wings, the Kings played a strong first period and then got scared and flat-lined as soon as anything went right for the Blue Jackets.
They managed to hold on to the 1-0 lead Brown gave them halfway through the opening period for about nine minutes. Then, with less than a minute to play, Alexander Frolov made a nice assist on Jason Chimera’s goal to tie the game. Frolov entered the zone, turned and passed the puck up the middle of the ice, expecting to hit Jack Johnson. Johnson had already backed off the play and Chimera intercepted the pass cleanly. From then on, it was more or less all Blue Jackets.
The start of the second wasn’t too horrifying until Raffi Torres almost sent Oscar Moller back the Manchester without need of a plane. Torres destroyed Moller along the boards, after which Raitis Ivanans, trying to retaliate for the viscous hit was called with a cross-checking penalty for lightly rubbing Torres’ rear end with his gloves. Torres followed up with a goal on the power play and from then on the Kings were down and out, leadership and coaching once again failing to motivate the team after a dejecting goal against.
It is clear now why the Kings are suffering from the flu. They have an allergy to good passing. Watching other teams make crisp first and second passes over the last several games has weakened the Kings immunity to mount a comeback. Their own inability to connect a pass and calm the game down sealed their fate long before Rick Nash scored a short-handed goal or Jakub Voracek (who is possibly the most hideous looking player since Mike Ricci) put the game away with an empty net goal.
I would like to take this time to say that Alexander Frolov, my long time favorite King, is making it much easier lately for me to accept the possibility of him being traded. Aside from Frolov’s glaring error on the Jacket’s first goal, he has failed to generate much offense in the young season, having scored only 1 goal in 8 games. He has already used up his “loafing” allotment for the calendar year and has shown the same passing allergy in regards to shooting.
Something else that has been noticeably lacking from the Kings’ game is physical presence. Nearly every player was out-muscled at one point or another and as a unit the team was on the receiving end of the majority of the hits. We can only hope that in the coming days the Kings snap out of this bi-polar streak.
They have now played 3 1/2 games as a strong team that looks playoff worthy. They also played 3 1/2 games in which they look as bad as they ever did last year.
With one game left on this road trip, the Kings can still salvage the long journey around the country with a .500 record if they can muster a win against the Dallas Stars on Monday.
Hey, at least Anze Kopitar and Ryan Smyth both got another point. I guess.
At least it is a long season. Though, depending on the next few weeks, that could be a blessing or a curse. Either way, a trip to Rite-Aid is in order as I’m all out of “Get Well Soon” cards.