THE BRIGHT SIDE OF THE LOSING SIDE
Who said you need to score goals?
Not this team.
Who said shootout and OT losses are not important?
Not this blog.
Who thought last night’s 65 minutes of scoreless hockey was boring?
Certainly not this hockey fan.
While a win would have been nice against the Minnesota Wild, coming off a break and a 3-game winning streak, a loss with a loser point is actually really not that bad of a result. One quick glance at the league and conference standings and the Los Angeles Kings‘ teeny-tiny number in the third column (now a whopping 2) is a big reason the Kings have fallen out of a playoff berth. A month ago, this game is one we lose in the last 10 minutes of the game. Getting to OT, despite an ultimate loss, is something the Kings need to do more frequently.
I don’t care to recount much of the game itself, my admin powers tell me Bobby is planning something to this effect. Instead, I wanted to quickly touch on a few things that jumped out at me while I watched my DVR recording of the game at midnight.
Drew Doughty is sick of sucking.
Steadily over the last chunk of games, Dewey has looked to boost his offensive contributions while at the same time, is settling down on defense. He looks more confident and less cocky, more swag with what I can only imagine are less swigs on the eve of games. The veterans Willie Mitchell and Rob Scuderi have apparently had a tangible influence on both Doughty and Jack Johnson’s games of late, as the young studs have looked for body position and keen stick checking to do the work they were relying on heavy hits to do earlier in the season. This makes for a stronger defense and smoother transitions to offense. I was monumentally happy with our defense in this game.
Andrei Loktionov. Do you ever know what this kid is going to do with the puck? I sure don’t. While he hasn’t been a dynamo on the scoresheet thus far, his skill is apparent game in and game out. He is the only forward on the Kings (sans Kopitar, depending on the position of the moon), who keeps me guessing on every zone entry and every half-wall possession. He is trying every trick he has to see what works and it is mighty apparent to me that sooner or later, he is going to break through. Watching him bust into the slot not once, but twice, brought a small tear of joys to come to my eye. If Sturm or Parse ever get healthy, I’m not sure I take Loki out of the lineup. He is learning on the job and I say learn on little Russian, learn on.
Does Terry Murray ever have the team practice odd-man rushes? Granted, the Wild play phenomenal defense and Niklas Backstrom can be a monster in net when he wants to be, but nearly every time the Kings broke into the zone with an outnumbered attack, be it 2-on-1 or 3-on-2, they looked clearly confused on getting an accurate read off each other. When the attacking forwards were on the same page, execution fell short. I got the distinct sense throughout the game that scoring off the rush is not something the Kings work on heavily, if at all, in practice. Its one thing to play a cycle, its another not to have any tricks up your team’s sleeve for 3-on-2 breakouts. The Kings just looked entirely unsure about what their teammate was looking to do in these opportunities. Very… very… well, we’ll just go with ‘frustrating’. As opposed to major psychotic fucking aggrivation.
Ponikarovsky is playing some damn fine hockey and what’s better, Handzus woke up from his 3 month long nap.
An effort like last night against the Edmonton Oilers tonight will result in a Kings’ win and that’s a guarantee.