Tonight the Kings lost to the Minnesota Wild… no, that’s not right, and its not 2005.
3-1 was the final score against New Jersey… damn, wrong again. I’m not worried about Y2K.
Let’s try and figure this one out. FSN didn’t televise the game. I had to go to a smelly bar with smelly people to watch it on Center Ice. That must mean it was against a Canadian team. OH! That’s right. The Canucks.
The Kings have gone mostly red-light-less in their two previous meetings against the Canucks, and this cold December night was no different. For the third time this season, the Kings mustered a lone, meager goal against a Vancouver team that plays with a ton of speed in front of superstar goalie Roberto Luongo.
It is hard to tell how much of the game is the result of Luongo’s perfect positioning, Vacnouver’s stifling defense or pitiful puck management by the Kings. Truly, the 3-1 loss can be pegged on all of these things.
Much like their last game against the Stars, the Kings gave up an early goal, this one to Vancouver heart-throb Ryan Kesler. Left alone in front of Jonathan Quick, Kesler slammed home a rebound while Rob Scuderi decided whether he should cover his man or the man Anze Kopitar wasn’t bothering to cover.
About 16 minutes of nearly unwatchable hockey (the kind that makes coaches happy) later, Sami Salo scored the sole special teams goal of the game after the uglier of the two Sedin twins fed him a pass in the slot from the right half-wall.
Two and a half minutes later, the Kings woke up and Sasha Frolov scored off of a Randy Jones rebound. Where was he? Parked right in front of the net. That’s a good Sasha.
Frolov was one of the only Kings, other than Quick, about whom I have postive things to say. However I will not say them, because this was not one of those “well look at the bright side” losses. This was a “can’t win ‘em all, particularly when you suck” loss.
The second period dragged on without either team potting a goal. There was some light back and forth, but most of it was between the two blue lines.
The Canucks, realizing this Kings’ team had forgotten to bring their game to GM Place, sat back and let the Kings try to break through their impenetrable wall of two forwards and two defenseman. The Kings tried and tried, dumped and chased and dumped and dumped, to zero avail.
Finally, just under 15 minutes into the final frame, something happened. But not the good something.
The Kings gained entry into the zone. Dustin Brown had the puck, but seemed upset that Teddy Purcell, who was standing inches away, wanted it. So Brown vigorously stick handled right and left, seemingly in more of an effort to shake Purcell than to shake the Vancouver defenseman, lost the puck, and the play went back deep into the Kings’ zone. Two lame turnover and recoveries later, Matt Greene fed a pass from the top of the circles right up the middle of the ice to Justin Williams, who either tried to handle the pass or tip it deep into the Canucks’ end. Whatever he was going for, he failed. Shane O’Brien picked up the bobbled play and fed a streaking Kesler, who broke into the Kings’ zone. Matt Greene slid to his left to play Kesler, ignorant of Sean O’Donnell two steps away from pressuring Kesler and more importantly, a wide open Mason Raymond. Kesler fed Raymond, who broke in alone on Quick and scored the fate-sealing goal between Quick’s supple thighs.
Oh well, 8-1-1 in the last 10 isn’t so bad. In fact its downright awesome. This one game does nothing to take away from that. Well… that’s not true.
The Kings’ lost Jarret Stoll in the third period to a groin injury, his second such malady of the year. More on that tomorrow.
I could describe more, but I won’t.
NHL Network is replaying the game for those of you who missed it, tomorrow morning at 11:00am.
You could watch it, but you shouldn’t.
Now if you will excuse me, I have a beer to finish.
Categories: L.A. Kings News