Thrilling until the end.
The box score tonight tells a tale that Dean Lombardi wrote. Richards scores two goals. Gagne dominates with a beautiful goal and a better assist. Andrei Loktionov gets an assist. Slava Voynov gets a goal and an assist. Kopitar scores the game winner. Tonight was a game for the new guys in King town, capped off by the best hockey player in California.
For a while it felt like this was going to be a repeat of the first freeway fuck-off game (hash tag that FSN). Low scoring teams struggling to find the back of the net. The Ducks started off the game much stronger than last night and the Kings had to work harder for their shots. After a scoreless first period, the second saw a spike in the action. Richards broke through with a pretty lifted backhand on a breakaway, courtesy of Voynov and Loktionov. Shortly thereafter Andrew Cogliano scored when the Johnson and Doughty got caught chasing their dicks. Then on a penalty kill, Simon Gagne burst through the neutral zone with a blaze of speed, jumped ahead of everybody and with the faintest of dekes in tight put the puck past Dan Ellis to give our boys their second lead of the game. That may have been the coolest Kings goal of the season thus far.
Then the third period struck. Well, eventually. It seems the lighting technician at the Cesspond Honda Center decided he was sick of looking at all the ugly Duck players and the worn out expressions on their plastic soccer mom fans’ faces, so we sat in comparative darkness for a while. When the lights did come on about 15 or more minutes late, both teams unleashed their respective beasts. The Kings, a clumsy juggernaut. The Ducks, a feisty little nimrod with a Napoleon complex. Gagne makes a high skill backhand pass to Voynov on the powerplay. 3-1. Perry happens to score while falling on his face. He can thank Scuderi for that goal. 3-2. The Kings are the beneficiaries of 4 minutes of powerplay time but stumble their way towards giving Anaheim more momentum than they deserve. The scrawny schmucks take full charge and are rewarded with a powerplay goal of their own, Cogliano’s second, a redirection off a Sbisa point shot. 3-3. Fuck.
But then there was Kopitar.
The man, the myth, the legend himself makes the power move to the middle of the ice we’ve been waiting to see for 2 games, puts a backhander behind the net, recovers his own rebound, circles around to the goalmouth and after not one, not two, but three whacks pokes the game winning goal past Ellis while Williams gave a face full of his ass to the Ducks’ goalie.
Richards scored an empty-netter to cap off a wild evening.
The downside to this game is that the Kings let the Ducks gain momentum twice in the third period. In the end they didn’t break, but holy shit did they bend too far. We will begrudgingly give some credit to the morons in orange. The Doughty-Johnson pairing experienced some of the defensive pains we all knew were coming. Happy the Kings scored 5 goals? Me too. They also scored as many short handed goals as they did even strength goals. 5-on-5 still needs work. I’ll be much happier when we can get 3 at even strength, preferably against a team whose best defensemen isn’t Francois Beauchemin.
We would also like to smack Murray upside his head for still not putting Loktionov on the powerplay, favoring Moreau and his penchant for penalties instead.
Though we still would have liked to have seen Bernier in net, Quick made some spectacular saves, one of which a certain Bobby Ryan is about to have a nightmare regarding, and none of the 3 goals against can be laid at his feet.
This is now the time to thank our gods or lack thereof that Clifford’s neck isn’t broken.
The team has momentum. We’ve got a 3 game winning streak on our hands. Detroit is coming out of their funk and needs a good flogging and Saturday seems like the perfect time for them to get it.
GO KINGS GO!