IT’S ALL OVER BUT THE SMILING – KINGS FINISH WINGS 3-2 IN OVERTIME
As defined by Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, lakingsnews.com edition.
Red Wings’ Fan (noun): A soulless bandwagoner generally without familial or residential connection to Michigan or who is otherwise displaced due to the GM layoffs. See also, Putz.
As I told Nick and Daryl on Kings’ Talk after the game (right after I won the popcorn), if beating the Red Wings is the symphony, then the crescendo is watching those bandwagon maggots in red walking out of Staples Center with their heads low. I realize Red Wings fans are harmless. They just leave a stench that takes a few hours to clear out.
Tonight was fun. A playoff atmosphere and our Kings stepped on the ice knowing this was a defining game. Not only could it kickstart a winning streak, it did so against a talented team that sits atop the Western Conference. For all the venom I spit at their fan base in Southern California, take nothing away from the Red Wings. They are a damn good club and they played like one tonight. The difference was simple. The Kings were better from the goal, out, and while watching Brown and Kopitar driving against Osgood in overtime gave me flashbacks of 2001 with Deadmarsh and Stumpel, more impressive was that the play started with the Kings beating Detroit at its own game – creating a turnover and seizing the offensive opportunity presented. Viva La Raza, Alec Martinez for setting it all up.
The Kings’ goals came from Williams, who is slowly becoming a hockey god before us, Martinez and the overtime one-timer of a beauty by Anze Kopitar from Dustin Brown…and I am not sure Kopitar has that lane without Martinez hustling into the play and taking the center position. Anze had a mind-blowing nine shots on net. I nearly had an orgasm as a result.
The keys to this victory? Stoll and Handzus were faceoff machines. Doughty played one of his best games of the season, over 30 minutes of it. Poised and powerful, he was smart and did what I hoped he would (in the pre-game scouting report): skate with the puck. The first two lines were more patient than I had previously seen them. Though the first period was shaky in the first 10 minutes, thereafter and through the rest of the game, each line maintained puck possession and looked for cross ice feeds and passes to open lanes. That is Detroit’s m.o. It seemed the Kings took a cue from their opponent and that created some great scoring chances in the second and third as well as traffic around Osgood. Further, the Kings through each line and nearly the entire defense never stopped skating. It’s difficult to go through a game against the Wings and not give up good scoring opportunities, but that doesn’t ever equate to quitting on the play. The Kings never paused, never hesitated to put pressure on the puck carrier. Even on a couple of turnovers, they chased the puck carrier down and forced him into a pass or shot he wasn’t ready to make.
Last and never least on the accolades is our young star in net, Jonathan Quick. Steady as ever, in position and a glove magnetic to rubber pucks.
Two of our defensemen did struggle. Jack Johnson’s game was off. Scrambling on defense and unable to maintain much puck possession on offense. Greene also had a hell of a time, though not for a lack of effort. We love Matt but we need Willie back there because giving Greene 20 minute a game is 5 too much. Fortunately, the rest of the Kings’ defense and the hard work of the forwards, with an extra dose of love for Trevor Lewis whose game is maturing to that of a true professional, picked up what little slack was necessary.
Hey, when you keep Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Franzen off the scoreboard, that is healthy living.
What now? Having drop kicked the Wings, we wait for another team in red to come and visit. The Calgary Flames. The game is five freaking days away though it may take that long for this smile to come off my face. Let’s make it three in a row boys.
Let me hear you scream! GO KINGS!