KINGS BUST A CAP AT STAPLES AND BEAT WASHINGTON 2-1
It was an afternoon game and we all know what that means…or do we?
The Kings came out full of piss and vinegar. They hit everything that wore white and red, number 8 included. In fact, kudos to the fan who brought the sign “our number 8 is better than your number 8″ to the game. The first period drew a blur between the first 3 lines as the 2nd (Parse-Richardson-Simmonds) played a speedy and energy filled game while the 3rd (Frolov-Hanzus-Segal) used their size and strength to control the puck and play at and away from the boards. So, what about the first? Well, Kopitar continued to struggle and though Brown was throwing his weight around, he was having a little trouble getting shots on net. Fortunately, Ryan Smyth scored another patented goal on the Kings’ 3rd power play of the period and gave the Kings a 1-0 lead.
The second found Scott Parse in the box and Mike Green blasting a shot from the right point past Quick…one Quick probably wants back as he was not screened. Handzus took another penalty right after but the Kings killed it and damn near scored with Handzus coming out of the penalty box. Ryan Smyth could not get enough on the cross ice pass from Zeus and the score remained 1-1. The game became more physical as it wore on. The Kings could not generate any sustained offensive pressure. The Caps led the Kings 8 to 2 in shots by the 12 minute mark of the 2nd. Kings coach Terry Murray started switching the lines around to generate more offense and energy but neither team could put the puck in the net and the second session ended 1-1.
The third started similar to the second – with the Kings down by a man. This time, Ryan Smyth was called for boarding, a phantom call if there ever was one. But Brad Richardson showed why he has become such a pleasure to watch on the ice with his ability to take a hit, keep the play and the puck alive and send a nice pass to Handzus from behind the net, who respectively showed why he has been one of the most consistent Kings by faking the Capitals’ goaltender Michal Neuvirth out of his pads and putting it top shelf to give the Kings a 2-1 lead. Both teams battled. The Kings line of Frolov, Handzus, and Segal continued to impress while the fourth line seemed to follow the pace and tempo set by Oscar Moller’s speed. Moller may be the best thing that has ever happened to Ivanans.
The Capitals had a good shift at the 12 minute mark, cycled the puck well and drew a penalty on Jack Johnson for cross checking. Quick made a “WHOA!” (Jim Fox) save(s) at just under 7 minutes and to make the game interesting, Sean O’Donnell took a delay of the game penalty to give the Capitals a 2 man advantage for nearly a full minute.
Take a sip of beer.
The Kings not only killed the penalty with style, but after doing so, Richardson made a beautiful head’s up play to keep the play alive despite being one man down and feeding Smyth who drew a penalty while…what else…driving to the net.
Jack Johnson’s rocket of a point shot was stopped. Oscar Moller damn near put the puck in on a broken play. The Kings could not capitalize on the power play but took hold of the bull and would not let go.
The better team won, as it should have and should be.
lakingsnews.com’s 3 stars were:
3. Michal Handzus
2. Jonathan Quick
1. Brad Richardson
(photo by Gus Ruelas / Associated Press)