LOS ANGELES KINGS FLY HIGH BACK TO STAPLES WITH VICTORY OVER DALLAS STARS

We panicked.  We complained.  We self loathed like a Jew sneaking a pig in a blanket at a Yom Kippur service.  Then the Kings told the fans in so many plays to shut the hell up.

While the fans may have missed Alexander Frolov tonight, but the Los Angeles Kings did not.  The Stars were missing Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen, and Steve Ott.  Hefty losses, but the Kings were not about to pull any punches.  The Kings took advantage of the diminished Dallas Stars’ team to finish their road trip on a high note with a 4-1 win.  The Kings end their trip with a 3-3 record, not too shabby considering the sky was falling rapidly in Kings’ nation all the way through the first intermission of the game.

The Kings came out in the 1st period with energy, but lacked cohesion.  The Kings struggled to keep control of the puck, passes weren’t connecting and communication was clearly a problem.  In fact, at times they looked outright scared to handle the puck.  This puck paranoia cost them near the end of the period when after a few hot potato-like passes and a neutral zone turnover by Ryan Smyth, Dallas took a 1-0 lead.  Rookie Jamie Benn scored the goal to send the Kings in to the locker room with a reason to frown.

Apparently the locker room, which was silent during the first intermission last game against Columbus, was more lively this time around as the Kings came out firing on all cylinders in the second period.

Only four minutes in, the Kings were the benefactors of an errant clearing attempt by Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas, good for a delay of game penalty which put the Stars down two men for 1:37.  The Kings, in classic fashion, quickly squandered the 2-man advantage but rebounded on the ensuing power play.  With Ryan Smyth planted firmly in Marty Turco’s face, Dustin Brown took a shot from the left face-off circle that Smyth tipped behind the Dallas goaltender.

The Kings continued their strong play, outshooting the Stars 18-4 by the end of the period.  With 6:43 left to play, Matt Greene kept the puck alive at the point and fired a shot that was headed well wide of the net until Justin Williams reached out to tip the puck past Turco to take a lead the Kings would not give up.  Kopitar capped off a 3 goal period for the Kings just over two minutes later with a one-timer from the slot off a behind the net pass from Williams.  Smyth also assisted on both goals, giving him 3 points in the game and making up nicely for his costly turnover in the first period.

Kopitar’s goal made this King fan let out a shout that woke his tortoise, Otis, from a lethargic slumber.  The Kings maintained control of the puck in the Dallas zone for longer than the Stars’ defensemen could tolerate, passing with grace and cycling with tenacity.  After wearing the opposition down, Williams took a pass from Smtyh behind the net and found Kopitar all alone in front.  With Turco in good position, Kopitar didn’t had little daylight to shoot at, but he didn’t need much.  He found a minuscule gap between the goaltender and the pipe and quickly fired the puck over Turco’s right shoulder.

While the Stars never recovered, the third period was dicey at times for the Kings.  The Stars maintained pressure throughout the period, but the Kings weathered a 15 shot storm before Wayne Simmonds put the game away with an empty net goal with 1:37 to play.

Simmonds had his best game thus far, playing intense defense with near perfect positioning throughout the game.  Also stepping up his game was Dustin Brown, who continues to improve after a slow start to the season.  Brown had two assists and created a blanket of energy over the entirety of the ice surface on every shift.  It is incredible how the team responds when the Captain is at the top of his game.

Brad Richardson was also impressive once again and earned a 3rd period promotion to the third line with his strong play.  The first line of Smyth, Kopitar and Williams combined for five points in the game to give the trio 35 points in just 9 games.

Even more impressive than the four goals the Kings scored, the first game of the road trip in which they managed more than two, was that the Kings killed all four penalties they received.  It’s a good thing.

Jonathan Quick finished with 29 saves for his 5th win of the season, and improved his GAA to 2.88 and his SV% to an even .900.

Not only does this win snap a three game losing streak, but this is the first come from behind victory of the season for the Kings.  If the Kings take anything away from this game, it should be that when they make short passes to get out of their zone and refrain from chipping the puck off the boards at every turn, they can compete with any team.  When they don’t, well the last three games happen.  Let’s hope they keep that in mind when they return to Staples to face the Stars once again on Thursday, October 22.

Go Kings!



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