Beating Detroit was the former. Winning Thursday’s game against the Flames is very much the latter.
The Kings lost a little bit of themselves during the recent slide. It didn’t happen overnight. Pieces started to fall off game by game until the Montreal match when the back tires came loose and rolled toward the slow lane while we raised sparks down the freeway.
Florida was a must win.
Detroit was a $100.00 bill in a pair of jeans we hadn’t worn in a year.
Thursday’s game against Calgary is a chance to restore part of our heart and soul that we lost during that miserable stretch and rebuild the kind of momentum we had before losing Mitchell and Poni to upper body phalanges injuries.
Poni’s return will help. The rise of Martinez and Lewis, both of whom excel due to their excellent speed and intelligent decisions on both ends of the ice, should stabilize our second line and defense. Clifford’s likely return to the fourth line alongside possibly Richardson and Zeiler, who I dare say has been a pleasant surprise, will strengthen what has been our weakest link line.
At the end of the day however, we must live up to the cliché of our best players being our best players. Doughty had his best game of the season against Detroit. Momentum. Kopitar had nine shots on goal and buried one for the game winner. Serious momentum. Brown could have had two goals if he could just bury the biscuit in the nearly open net. Williams was as consistent as he has been all season. Stoll and Handzus were face off monsters. Our best players. It’s time for Jack to gain his early season form. He has but one aspect of his game that he must improve upon – turnovers. When Johnson plays a simple game, he shines. When he presses and tries to do too much, especially in the offensive zone, he falters. Smyth needs a couple of garbage goals to get his mojo back.
This game is essential. Not just to our collective sanity but to infusing the kind of confidence and swagger within the team that saw it toy with the opposition for the first fifteen games.
A three game winning streak is just the beginning.