Ryan Smyth still out.

Wayne Simmonds suddenly and surprisingly out due to a meniscus tear.

Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, and Alexander Frolov all working their way out of scoring slumps.

What does it all mean to the end result?

The first period didn’t start well. The Kings were chasing the puck in their own zone and did little to create offensive zone pressure in the first 10 minutes.  Yet, one just knew…you could look at the player’s faces for even when they weren’t at their best, they were calm and focused – as if each forward and defenseman could sense that they were about to take this game back and that the Stars’ momentum was temporary.

James Neal started the scoring for the Stars on a seeing eye centering pass from Brad Richards that found its way past Randy Jones and Jack Johnson. The first period ended with the Stars up by a goal. In the second, The Kings tied it on a Stars’ turnover created by Justin Williams who broke with Alexander Frolov and made a beautiful flip/saucer pass combination right on Sasha’s stick who promptly roofed the puck over Stars goaltender Alex Auld.  Mike Modano gave the Stars’ an undeserved lead on a turnover by Drew Doughty. Jere Lehtinen stripped Doughty of the puck and placed it right on the all time goal and point scoring leader among American born players’ stick.

The Kings however were playing a much better second.  Justin Williams was particularly impressive with his relentless pursuit and possession of the puck. A fellow fan commented that he looked like Pavel Datsyuk out there to which this writer agreed.  Anze Kopitar tied the game on a rebound from Sean O’Donnell’s point shot and aptly followed it with a HELL YEAH! celebration.

The third period saw an oddity.  Alexander Frolov, who to the layman’s eyes appeared to be having a decent game, was pulled off the first line and placed on the third.  Ted Purcell, who had accomplished just this side of nothing during the game, moved to the first line.  Now, whether that was because Terry Murray was unhappy with Frolov’s play or whether the third line’s defensive struggles were the reason remains unknown. The move was surprising enough that even Kings color commentator Jim Fox made a pointed comment about it.  We have no idea why this happened because Rich Hammond never asked so we are left to guess.

Without scoring in the third, the game once again transitioned into overtime, one with a rare 3 on 3 due to coincidental penalties at the end of the third on Matt Greene and James Neal (the latter for “diving”). Though certainly not for a lack of opportunities, neither team could put the biscuit in the basket and off to the shootout we went again.

The shootout saw Michal Handzus, who is fast becoming “money” on these skills competitions, score the sole goal.

Of all the Kings players and despite Justin Williams’ inspired and aggressive performance, the masked man Jonathan Quick stood out the most. There were times during the past two decades that this Kings fan wondered if we would ever have our own home grown star goaltender. Well, let me tell you boys and girls, we believed it at the end of last season, during the offseason and Quick is doing everything to make us believers this season – we may just have our star netminder in spades.

Jim Fox commented that this was Jonathan Quick’s best game of the season. I am not sure about that, but the fact that about 7 to 8 other games may fall into that category tells you how far our young goalie has come.  Justin Williams said during Heidi Androl’s on-ice interview that Dallas goaltender Alex Auld was good “but ours was great tonite.” Terry Murray in his post game interview declared, “when you’re not playing your best hockey and you win, it’s goaltending.”

We agree Terry.

Categories: L.A. Kings News



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