Terry Murray’s job got a little harder. Who to put where at the start of the season when tonight’s lines, from the first to the fourth, played a solid game?
Don’t misunderstand. Murray mixed and matched the lines the Kings started with throughout the game. At one point, I saw Schenn and Loktionov together. But what this game showed most of all was the rookies that remain have no intention of going down (to Manchester or Juniors) and they will play their hearts out to make the coach’s decision as difficult as possible. If I had to pick one player that didn’t play consistently well, it was Hickey. His turnover led directly to a goal and he seemed timid for the rest of the game thereafter.
As for the game itself, how many exclamation points can you put after a total slaughter of everything Anaheim? The Kings had their way with the Ducks in every category. The expression ridden hard and put up wet immediately comes to mind. On offense, when the Kings wanted to score they simply created traffic and took shots at will. Our boys made the Ducks’ defense look incompetent and obtuse in positioning, coverage and puck control. At one point, it felt like we were on a 5 on 3 for seven minutes…when we weren’t even on the powerplay.
The distinct difference between LA’s offense so far this season compared to last is the different looks we give the defense. The attack came from the wings, center and defense. The cycle didn’t just start behind the net. Brown, on one occasions, stopped along the end boards and skated the puck back toward the blue line only to drop it off for a weaving winger. Anaheim looked completely lost at this point. The pass went to the point man who had time and space (the Ducks’ defense was still chasing Brown) while our Captain went to the front of the net. It was planned, at least I hope it was because the play was a thing of beauty. Short dumps, longs dumps, those were still there but the creativity when the Kings skated over the blue line with the puck on their stick and unwilling to surrender it was nearly orgasmic to watch.
Is Anaheim a bad team? Yes. But they aren’t this bad. We made the Ducks look inept tonight. More so than their fan base. No easy task.