Kopitar with his first of the season. Loktionov with his first NHL goal. Bernier with his first win of 2010. Kings win 4-3 but lose Doughty to the dreaded upper body injury.
He will steal your girlfriend in the middle of the night and bring her back early morning before you wake.
He will pick your pocket, spend your money, and return it before you notice.
He will score a goal from behind the net and off your stick before you can say what the hell was that!
He is Andrei Loktionov and he is sneaky.
With the puck, you may think pass but he will shoot, guess shoot and he will pass, what’s he going to do, only he knows. Tonight, Loktionov scored his first NHL goal, the game winner in the third period, on a shot that I want to watch on the replay several times because I swear he was aiming for the back of the goalie’s pads while Surly is convinced he intended all stick. None of us want to believe it was a centering pass gone astray. He got all stick and came up huge early in the third to give the Kings all they needed from that point forward to finish the Canes.
The Kings’ goal scorers were Smyth, Zeus, Kopitar and Loktionov. Kopitar also hit a post. That’s goals from each of the first three lines for those scoring at home.
Our forwards played a solid game. Nobody in the top three lines had an off night. Perhaps because I was watching him carefully (as he is the subject of our next In Focus), I noticed Alexei Ponikarovsky was all over the ice, searching for pucks, keeping it longer than I have ever seen him do so and looking to make plays to create scoring chances. While the powerplay was blanked again, it showed much better movement, passing, opening lanes and getting shots to the net for rebounds. The defense could have been better in two respects.
First, we didn’t play nearly a physical enough game. I mentioned in the pre-game article that Carolina is not a physical team, they don’t play a dot to boards game nor do they cycle to create time and space for their forwards. They enter the zone and fire shots. That style plays well into the Kings’ hands because the mobile and hostile defenders can force the Canes to the outside and take them out of the play by putting them into the boards. Instead, the Kings played for parts of each period similar to the Sharks last night by giving space to Carolina’s forwards upon entry over the blue line. Give Carolina credit…very little credit. They are a well coached team. For a roster that isn’t very deep, they play the run and gun style to a man.
Second, the breakouts were sloppy. This became apparent after Doughty didn’t return in the second. Jack was the lone wolf willing to skate the puck out of the zone. I expect Murray will make the necessary adjustments in Drew’s hopefully very short absence.
Goaltending was a tale of the bipolar netminder. Click on the Goalie Tracker page at the top of your screen or just click here if you want to go there now.
Perhaps the most important aspect of this match was Drew Doughty’s injury. It occurred in the first period in the neutral zone. The hit and possible elbow came from Erik Cole well after Doughty had released the puck. By all accounts, it was a dirty hit. The refs missed it. So did many of us in the stands as it occurred behind the play. Here is Terry Murray’s post game interview. Look at his reaction to the question about the Cole hit on Drew Doughty. He is upset.
So, Drew isn’t making the trip to Phoenix. He may join the team later on the road. Let’s just hope and pray it isn’t a concussion and he simply got his bell rung a little and needs a day to rest.
The Kings take on the Shane Doanless Dogs tomorrow at the ownerless jobing.com arena.
Let’s kick the Dogs.