The long title is a substitute for the string of expletives that came out of my mouth when Jack Johnson snapped a bolt of puck lightning past Roberto Luongo to seal the Kings first win of the season. Though the game was close, with each team only scrounging up one goal in regulation, things were not going the Kings’ way for long stretches. Three penalties from Alexei Ponikarovsky and more from others led to Christian Ehroff’s goal in the 2nd period. Doughty’s penalty for throwing an obvious punch was a downright silly one take. I could be harsh, had they lost (in regulation) I might have been. There were times in the first and second periods that the Canucks were physically intimidating the Kings and backing them off with the ever-so-slight fear of great skill.
These are nitpicks though, a young team with several new faces figuring out exactly what shape they take best. Kopitar making some bad turnovers in neutral ice and errant passes by Westgarth and Drewiske almost proved costly. There were a few moments when some choice words from Clifford or Westy, meant to entice a fist flying their way would have been appreciated. But the team came on strong in the third and their hard work paid off with Justin Williams’ late powerplay goal from Handzus and Brown to send the game to overtime.
OK fine, one more nitpick. Jarrett Stoll’s numerous chances on the 4-on-3 in overtime made my heart skip too many beats. I will credit Luongo for some stellar goaltending throughout the game… until the shootout where he was promptly made the fool by Kopitar and Johnson in succession. Quick deserves plenty of his own praise, as Vancouver’s lone goal was a good one. Several high-quality Canuck chances were denied in Quick’s usual flamboyant fashion.
Vancouver is a hell of a team and played a strong game. Beating them in such resilient fashion is a perfect start for this ripe team. The domination will come.
A final thought: if there was any doubt that Mitchell would be hesitant to take a hit because of the concussion, there isn’t now.
GO KINGS GO!