CANUCKS BEAT KINGS IN “USELESS PART OF THE GAME”
Another day, another loss in the shootout.
What Terry Murray calls a “useless part of the game”, the Kings seem quite inept at executing. Coincidence? Perhaps.
Tonight the Los Angeles Kings dropped another point they should have had to the Vancouver Canucks in a 2-1 shootout loss, giving Kings’ fans everywhere fits of nostalgia not but a day old. Shootout goals from Ryan Kesler and Mikael Samuelsson lifted the Canadian representatives over the Kings in a reasonably played, but ultimately lackluster game.
The Kings severely outshot the Canucks 31-16, but were unable to beat backup goalie Andrew Raycroft more than once in regulation. Scott Parse scored the Kings’ lone goal, the first of his NHL career. Samuelsson, who won the game in the shootout, also had the Canucks sole regulation goal. Both goals came in the first period. The final two frames were a war of attrition. While Los Angeleans refrained from taking their verbal slurs towards the large Canuck fan presence to the next level of physicality, had the game been more dynamic, who knows what shenanigans might have broken out amongst the polarized group of ticket holders. That is my way of saying the stands were more interesting than the ice.
I think the Kings got off to a good start, although I wouldn’t know, since I spent the first 8 minutes of the game standing in a ridiculously long will-call line. To tangentiate (I know its not a word, but it is now) for a moment, I am vigorously disgruntled over the inability of Staples Center to move an overly long line through the turnstiles quickly. Maybe its the staff, or maybe it was just the numb-skull in front of me who spent 10 minutes arguing with a Staples employee about god knows what, but either way, I was disappointed that the Kings no longer play the live telecast over the gigantic screen outside Staples Center. If I am going to miss half of the first period waiting in line, at the very least play the dang game on the big screen.
OK, enough ranting… the people in section 315 got their fair share upon my late arrival to the game. I apologize to anyone I may have offended. No I don’t. Yes I do. It’s a hockey game, no I don’t.
I do sincerely apologize on behalf of the Kings for not burying any of their plentiful shots. Raycroft may have made 30 saves, but he does not truly deserve the boost in save percentage he will bear from this game. The majority of the Kings’ chances were not of the prime variety we have become accustomed to over the first 13 games of the season. Last night Nabakov stoned the Kings. Tonight, the Kings were apparently just stoned.
Perhaps that is not fair. The Kings did play a strong game. In a general sense, they outplayed the Canucks, holding them to a mere 10 shots through 2 periods of play. Unfortunately one of those 10 shots was a quality one, which beat Jonathan Quick at 18:36 of the first period, a shade over 7 minutes after Parse potted the Kings’ only goal.
Maybe it was the long wait in line, maybe it was the beer, or maybe it was the blond in front of me who didn’t ask, but rather told me to keep my voice down, but I walked away from this game with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. The Kings reverted to dump and chase hockey far too often, usually as soon as they felt any pressure, and when they did skate the puck in, they often took haphazard shots before setting up a quality cycle.
It is encouraging that the Kings walk away with a point and the satisfaction of carrying most of the play to their opponent, but point or not, a loss is a loss, and the Kings clearly need to work on their shootout abilities, regardless of how much coach Murray hates it. One can only imagine what this game would have looked like had Pavol Demitra, Daniel Sedin and Roberto Luongo played.
Speaking of injuries, this Kings’ fan is missing Justin Williams. While Simmonds did not play poorly, Williams’ unique speed and ability to move the puck through the neutral zone was sorely lacking tonight. Let us all hope his mysterious injury (chafed thighs?) fully heals by the next game at Phoenix on Monday, November 2.
Normally in a back-to-back scenario, 2 out of 4 points seems pretty good, and ultimately it is acceptable, however even in this young season, the Kings have shown that they are capable of much more than this effort. Granted, this was the last game of the Kings’ toughest month of the schedule. The next several days of rest and team practice will serve the Kings well.
A point is a point is a loss. On to the next game.