In his rookie year, Anze Kopitar’s play started a hockey religion. A zealous fan gathered “disciples” and began the Kopitarian following. Number 11 stormed the league. His faithful did all but graffiti his image throughout Los Angeles…or did they?
Tonight, Anze Kopitar, in his role as a hockey god, was resurrected. He scored not one, not two but a hat trick.
His first took Stephane Robidas to school. Kopitar blew past the Stars’ defender, cut across and with two defensemen giving chase, patiently forced Dallas Stars goaltender Alex Auld across and tucked the puck in about a four inch opening by the left post. The second, while the Kings led 2-1 after a beautiful saucer pass by Frolov that was put into the net by Simmonds, came after Kopitar took the puck from the low corner, cut to the front of the net and beat Auld with a backhand. Kopitar’s third was also a backhand on what was almost a broken play until Kopitar cut across the ice, through the slot and floated a rising puck over the Star’ exacerbated netminder. Just like that, the Kings led 4-1 at the 9:55 mark of the second period.
That is the good news.
Here is the bad.
Jonathan Quick transformed into Jason La Barbara (spelling mistaken intended) in the third period. Karlis Skrastins beat Quick on a high shot through some traffic. A minute and a half later, Mark Fistric bowled a weak slap shot from near the blue line and beat the Kings’ goalie who looked completely unprepared and out of position. The fourth goal by James Neal was a rocket from above the slot but without any traffic in front of Quick. Everybody but the referee knew it was a goal, which required a review.
The game went into overtime and I am sure Kings fans were wondering if they were going to see the reversal of the November 10, 2007 “Royal Rebound” whereat the Kings came back and beat Dallas after trailing 4-0 with less than 8 minutes left in the game. Some of us half expected a center ice shot to beat Jonathan but fortunately Michal Handzus scored only 55 seconds into the extra session to give the Kings an emotional and, like the Kings season, roller coaster victory.
Alexander Frolov, a healthy scratch last game, played well in the first and second and was rewarded with two assists. He also had a fire under him in overtime. Wayne Simmonds was given the right wing position on the 1st line in place of the injured Justin Williams after a suggestion by Dean Lombardi to Kings coach Terry Murray. He played an excellent game. In addition to his goal, he was strong on the puck all game, hit well, absorbed hits and looked very natural in his role.
When everything was said and done, the Kings got two points and gave a charitable one to the Stars. There you go Dallas. Don’t say we never did anything for you. Now, let’s focus, get our game in gear and hand the upcoming Coyotes their butts.