The Kings lost this rather boring game against Nashville tonight, 4-2, despite starting the scoring less than a minute in to the game.
Alexander Frolov, who was the bright spot of this loss, played another strong game, pouncing on a loose puck off the draw in the Predators and beating Pekka Rinne with a quick move to the backhand, just 54 seconds into the opening period. The Kings followed that up with about 4 minutes of strong play, peppering Rinne, but were unprepared as a team for the deathblow Jonathan Quick and Sean O’Donnell were about to deal them. 4:32 into the period, Steve Sullivan dumped the puck in behind the Kings’ net. Quick retrieved the puck, even though we keep telling him not to, and did not fully communicate his intentions to OD when he tipped the puck in front of his empty cage. OD flew by the puck, trying to best to stop and grab, but had to watch, helplessly gliding on his face in the wrong direction, as J.P. Penny… or Dumont, rather, swooped in and shot the puck in to the open net.
That was about it.
Sure. Some stuff happened. The Predators finally broke through again on their 4th power play of the game, midway in the 2nd period. Beside the lone goal of the 2nd period, virtually nothing happened, save for mistakes and defensive breakdowns, from a Kings’ perspective. Nashville was buzzing with relentless forechecking pressure as Dan Hamuis, along with Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, who continued their strong Olympic play, steadied the back end, completely suffocating any attempt at the Kings’ to generate a forecheck of their own.
A short time into the 3rd period, Quick’s tremendous stick handling continued to work its magic when he sent a puck around the boards that was quickly gobbled up by one of my least favorite players in the entire league, Martin Erat, who fed Marcel Goc for the Predator’s 2nd easy goal of the game. The hockey gods certainly took full advantage of crucifying the Kings’ tonight with an omen that has been shakily dodged since Jonny Q first stepped as the Kings’ goalie to beat. The bright side is that they likely have quenched their third for virgin blood, and can now leave Quick’s atrocious puck handling skills alone. Or Quick can work the kink out of his game. Or he can just never touch it with his stick again. Or you can just be happy for Ryan Smyth, who scored his 700th career point tonight.
Smyth deflected a pass from Kopitar during a 4-on-3 powerplay in the third period for the Kings’ that found Doughty alone to Rinne’s right. With all the skill and grace of a sniping winger, Doughty buried the puck behind a sprawling Rinne.
But congrats to Smyth nonetheless on his awesome accomplishment.
Ex-King Jered Smithson capped off the night with an 80 foot empty netter, shot from inside his own blue line.
The Kings’ were simply out of sync tonight, as they say. Quick’s first period blunder did have somewhat of a Finland affect, snuffing the life out of the Kings’ while putting them behind the eight-ball, if not on the scoreboard, definitely in their minds.
As for your new Kings, Halpern played 10:48, 1:18 of which was spent on the penalty kill. He had no shots and was 3 for 7 on the dot. He escaped with an even +/- rating.
Modin played 10:29 total, 1:22 on the penalty kill. He also had no shots and an even rating.
Personally, I thought both players looked decent. Clearly they spent much of their shifts trying to figure out the system, and had some misreads based off a lack of knowing where their other winger, Scott Parse, was heading. Nothing fantastic out of either one, save for a nice play at the defensive blue line by Modin in the 2nd to break up a Nashville entry and put one of their players on his ass. Halpern, I didn’t notice too much, but based off what I hear from some Tampa fans, is a good thing. Apparently he is like Drewiske in that when he is doing things right, he isn’t making a lot of noise.
Speaking of Drewiske… Jones outplayed OD tonight. That means a change on the back end is in order.
Credit the Kings on one thing in this poorly played loss. They never gave up. Tonight’s sucky outcome was not for lack of trying. This was entirely a case of just not having it as a unit, as opposed to individual players not giving it their all. Even OD. I know you are all really mad at him right now, but as my grandmother would have said “I’m sure he doesn’t want to be old, slow and clearly losing stars to gaze at in the twilight of his career.”
The Canadiens are in town Saturday. I expect all you Kings’ fans to be out in full force to welcome out boys home from the long break and to celebrate the 4 Olympic medals they bring with them.
GO KINGS GO