What’s the best way to follow a perfect five game road trip and a six game win streak?
A perfect home stand and a seven game streak.
The Kings are off to a good start.
Tonight, the New York Rangers came to Staples Center. New York is fresh off a trade that brought them Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust.
For anyone who was concerned about a first period hangover after the road trip, the game’s start put worry to rest. L.A. came out with an aggressive forecheck, effective cycling, little trouble entering the Rangers’ zone and sustained pressure. All we missed was, well, the net as we continued to send shots wide. The Rangers didn’t have their first shot on goal until approximately fourteen minutes into the first period. The shots by the end of the first frame were the Kings 5, Rags 4. The period saw hard checking by both teams and the Rangers leading in that department 14-10.
The game opened up in the second period. North to south hockey, speed through the neutral zone and chances by both teams. Quick made a big save around the 15 minute mark. The post made another at just under 14 minutes. Most annoyingly, the Rangers had taken the momentum.
It didn’t last.
LET’S GO KINGS!
Prust got into a fight with Brandon Segal and proceeded to talk shit to Ivanans thereafter. He (Prust) also received 2 minutes for instigating. He should have been handed an extra 2 for being a moron…perhaps a 10 minute misconduct for being one ugly son of a bitch. Screw it, suspend him for a game or two. The Kings weren’t able to score on the ensuing powerplay partly because Kopitar gave up a beautiful shot opportunity right in the slot. I love Kopi but that was in his wheelhouse and passing it to Jones gave me and a few others a gray hair. The Kings received a second powerplay immediately thereafter on a delay of game penalty but, alas, the Kings again could not convert. Most of the shots were not getting through and to Lundqvist.
A serious of weird incidents led to odd penalties. Jarret Stoll for goaltender interference. For what? Not much. He may have breathed heavily in Henrik’s direction. Then, Rangers’ 1st round pick Del Taco (oops, Del Zotto) tripped via a slew foot Sean O’Donnell. Matt Greene sent the puck out of the zone without deflection (delay of game). Out of all that, the Kings were still down by one man. Sucks, right? Wrong. What the Kings could not do on the powerplay, they accomplished short handed. Kopitar took the puck in his own zone after a poor pass by Gaborik, drove with Brown two on one against Lundqvist and snapped a deadly accurate wrist shot high and glove side. Kopitar never gave the shot away, and even released it while on the wrong foot. It was a thing of beauty.
The Kings did not stop. Moller nearly had a breakaway but the bouncing puck got away from him. Dustin Brown knocked former King Brian Boyle on his behind. Dustin was knocking a lot of Rangers on their butts the entire game. The Kings had several scoring chances in the final minute of the second including a highlight reel back hand cross ice pass from Johnson to Jones that Henrik stopped. The Rangers should have considered themselves lucky that they were not down 3-0.
Off to the third we go – The physical game continued. The Kings seemed content to hit everything in blue and white. Our boys had some high percentage chances but shots still sailed high or wide, an ongoing habit that carried over from the first two periods. Jack Johnson’s rocket actually broke the glass. Rob Scuderi stopped Marion Gaborik on a one on one move that should be an illustration in a book on how to defend such plays – stick angle, reach without taking a penalty, positioning, enough force to knock the forward off balance without holding.
With 8:46 left in the third, the Rangers turned over the puck in the neutral zone. O’Donnell passed it to Brown who took the biscuit along the boards while Ryan Smyth cut to the center. Brown put the puck on Ryan’s stick who flipped the puck over Lundqvist and into the net for a 2 – 0 lead. It wasn’t a hard shot. It didn’t need to be. It was the picture of accuracy.
Shut out? No. Gaborik scored an undeserved goal with less than 3 minutes left but that’s all the Rangers would get. Quick made a few big saves in the final few. The Kings played a fast, hard and physical game on both ends of the ice. They scored both goals on New York turnovers. This game could have easily been won by a much higher margin. It doesn’t matter. That is 7 in a row boys…
Post Game Tidbits
Oscar Moller looks like a Humingbird out there. He’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere. Now, he just needs to tighten that shot.
The Rangers play an interesting game. They seem to thrive in a wide open style. Their problem was that the Kings are a smart defensive team, force most plays to the outside and don’t give up rebounds.
Anze Kopitar played an effective two way game. Who would have thought Kopi would become a defensive force…I still want more goals. Many more.
Henrik Lundqvist is a damn good goaltender. Jonathan Quick was better tonight.
A special acknowledgment to Jack Johnson, Jarret Stoll, Rob Scuderi and Matt Greene. Each played a smart and physical game. I was especially impressed by Jack. He looked like a seasoned professional out there and was a + 2…imagine that…
My only criticism is the number of Kings’ shot that missed wide. Time for some shooting drills coach especially on the rush and from the top circle.
The Kovalchuk rumors are heating up. Bob & Jim even discussed that a trade may be imminent. Just say no to rentals that cost important roster players.
As I finished writing this, an ant crawled on my lap top monitor. I smashed it with my thumb and flicked away its lifeless body…I expect the Kings to do nothing less to Anaheim on Thursday night.
Categories: L.A. Kings News