“That’s how we do it boys!” exclaimed Wayne Simmonds as he congratulated his teammates for scoring their first power play in 6 games, giving them an early 1-0 league against Canada’s red-headed step child, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
That is how we do it. That’s how we should always do it.
The Kings skated their way to a 5-3 win over the league’s 3rd worst team who remains in hot competition for projected 1st overall draft pick, the goofy, slanty-eyed Taylor Hall. Wait, I’m sorry, they would need their first round pick for that… Boston didn’t play tonight, but they managed a win nonetheless.
Southern California’s finest marked their territory to the north off goals by Doughty, Johnson, Stoll, Smyth and Frolov, spurred on by a dynamite 3 assist game from Captain Dustin Brown.
The Leafs, from a purely textual view of the game, appeared to be in it late as they staved off 18 minutes of unrelenting cycling by the Kings in the 3rd period and came within 1 of tying off Niklas Hagman’s second pretty goal of the game. Hagman, who played the role of Phil Kessel for the Leaf’s tonight, beat Jonathan Quick cleanly twice on wrists shots good for his 19th and 20th goals of the season. No matter. It was an illusion. The Leaf’s never stood a chance.
Blame their porous defense, Jonas Gustavsson’s propensity to giving up the top corners or some strange curse that just must be keeping genius GM Brian Burke from icing a competitive team, but ultimately you will come back around to what a solid, strong game the Kings played. The forecheck was endless, the backchecks on target. Save for a couple of mistakes that led to the 3 surrendered goals, the Kings played a near perfect game, never giving more than a shade’s worth of possession time to the Leafs. In fact, I believe I counted only one sustained forecheck for the home team. I’d like to gloat more, but this is what should be expected from this Kings’ team now. No excuse not to put a hurt on a bottom-feeder.
After Drew Doughty got the scoring going with a powerful laser form the point on the powerplay, Nikolai Kulemin tied the game for the Leafs. While the scoreboard read 1-1 at the end of the first period, even the Leafs announcers didn’t have much to say other than gush over how well the Kings were playing. The Kings picked up where they left off in the 2nd period, when Dustin Brown plowed down the right wing, stick-handled his way behind the Leafs’ net and made a perfect pass to the middle that Jack Johnson one-timed home for a 2-1 lead. Hagman soon tied the game back up, but must have just pissed off the Kings in the process. The Kings came back from his goal and never let up. Brown continued playing one of his better games of the season, walking out of the corner to hit a free and clear Jarrett Stoll to regain the lead. Smyth then scored what I believe was his first goal of the season that originated off his stick outside of the blue paint. Smyth took a feed from Brown at the circle, took a step to the middle and beat the creepy-looking Toronto goalie cleanly from the right face-off dot.
Frolov sealed the game for the Kings on an empty-netter in the final minute, but the game was over long before. All 3 of the Leafs goal came off the rush, all due to one minor misstep off the boards by the Kings defense. Quick was not as his sharpest, though he did rob Jeff Finger in the final frame, but he didn’t need to be as the Kings didn’t give him much opportunity to be tested. The game was like watching a record skipping on a turntable, with successive Kings’ line cycling around the inept Toronto defense.
I will give the Leads some credit. Not for anything that happened on the ice, but how the action on the ice was portrayed.
I am often very critical and annoyed by the broadcast crews for NHL games, the Kings being no exception. I am not referring to on-air talent, but rather, the directors, assistant directors and technical coordinators sitting in a booth. Most hockey games I watch feature either a lack of abundance of camera cuts, never in proper rhythm of the game, as if hockey directors do not actually understand the sport which they are responsible for broadcasting, but simply respond to what they consider to be fun or interesting shots. Alternate camera angles are not used properly and cuts are either ahead of or behind the play at hand.
Not so in Toronto. Those guys get it. Though I was watching on NHL’s gamecenter thanks to a free trial offer (as I’m sure the rest of you were as well), I got to witness one of my first full broadcasts out of Toronto and I was thoroughly impressed. Cuts were appropriately timed on the action and never distracting. Every camera was utilized properly, never lagging on some bogus close-up while the play had progressed beyond the scope of the on-air frame. The pacing of the telecast matched that of the game. So bravo Toronto broadcast crew, my hat’s off to you.
Back to the game, I can not recall a single Kings player who had an remarkably poor game. This was the definition of playing a team, every player getting involved and making the right kind of plays. Persistence pays off.
2 more points.
There’s another ‘p’ word that’s on the tip off my tongue. I think I know it, but I’m scared to say it.
Maybe the readers can help me figure it out.
Categories: L.A. Kings News