What the hell was that?
It was a goaltender duel. Sort of…
It was a high-flying game. Yeah…
It was a tight defensive battle. Not by a long shot…
A sloppy but fun mess? That’s the one.
At least the goal recap is easy to write. Evander Kane scored the only goal of the game in overtime. The goal came off what seemed like a mild turnover, more of a lost board battle with Johnson in too deep (as soon as the Kings crossed the offensive blue line on that play I thought “Jack, what the hell do you think you’re doing?”). The Kings hustled back. Penner played D, then wandered off to the point as Mitchell went to the front of the net where a clusterfuck ensued off Ron Hainsey’s goofy bumbling of the puck, leaving Kane all alone at the goal mouth to pull the puck away from a stick-checking Bernier and score into what was essentially an empty net with all the time and space for which a forward could ask.
1-0. The fastest, most defensively putrid game of its kind.
Regarding those other 60 minutes of hockey, both teams ‘controlled’ hefty portions of the game. I put controlled in quotes because at no point did any team comfortably have possession that wasn’t clouded by broken plays, a smattering of turnovers and more sticks in passing and shooting lanes than I’ve seen in a long time. It is easy to see why the Winnipeg Jets have such an outstanding home record. If I could pick one word to describe their game, it would be swarm. They swarm the puck and swarm the opposition. Finding a time when there were not at least two players in blue within 2 strides of the puck would be like finding a needle in a haystack, or to make the phrase more appropriately Canadian, like finding taste in their beer. They are fast, love to hit and have their fair share of high-end skill. I had a quick vision somewhere in the second period of the Jets winning the Cup this year. It was kinda cool, poetically, kind of disgusting emotionally and kind of insane rationally. A few seconds later, when the seizure ended, I saw a Kings’ team tiring down.
Tonight was a game where it is easy to see the players who lack in the conditioning department, not that this is a surprise to anyone. Penner, who has been much more effective lately, looked like he was about to fall asleep at any moment in the third period. The spry ones like Loktionov and Lewis and the gym rats like Johnson and Greene were about the only players who didn’t look noticeably worn out by the end of the game. This is fine, I heavily credit the Jets, and Kane in particular for being just brutal physically right from the get-go. I also don’t expect an entire team to be able to give two of the intense 60 minute efforts they gave last night in less than 24 hours. My qualm comes from the lack of mental discipline in executing defensive zone passing that I saw tonight.
While the game was not decided by a defensive turnovers, the Jets were allowed far too many opportunities to further beat down our stamina by the Kings own doing. Lazy backward lob passes to deep defensemen while a Jet forward gained speed and putting the basic 5-10 foot passes anywhere but exactly on your teammate’s are the things that bothered me. Otherwise the Kings played a fairly strong game. No one stood out as playing particularly well, save for Bernier, but no one jumped out as slacking or having an off night. This being the end of a back to back, my requisite coaching gripe would be that the 4th line didn’t play enough. Then again, they did get almost 10 minutes and I’m really just trying to direct my anger away from the powerplay.
Let’s not do that, because the powerplay is terrible. The best thing I can say, which is not something I can often say these days, is that it didn’t drain the momentum from the team.
Luckily the holidays are about over and so to should the oppression of Jamie Kompon. If you have read and listened between the lines of Darryl Sutter’s talks with the media, it is quite clear that Kompon is on his way out. As well he should be, despite some fantastic play by Chris Mason, the Kings’ ability to find no better shot than one from directly below the hash marks on an extended 5-on-3 powerplay is contemptible. The game was handed to the Kings during the second period. On the other hand, the Kings managed to kill their own extended 2 man disadvantage, so the world turns on a rather even keel and ultimately, 3 out of 4 points on this road trip is solid. 8 out 10 points under Sutter is exactly the kind of pace we need to make the playoffs.
Randomly, just because being a buzz kill is fun every now an again, you know that fantastic save Bernier made in the third? The one where he sprawled to his left and caught the puck with his glove? I’m pretty sure it was on the 5-on-3 kill. The one Jim Fox wouldn’t shut up about? I’m all but positive that Bernier got saved by the post. I distinctly heard iron. I could be wrong but I think the hockey gods repaid us for Penner’s tip off the post in the first period.
At least I can come away with feeling some camaraderie towards our friends in Winnipeg, as I now echo a feeling they expressed excessively tonight, though mine is more general, albeit just as childish; Boooooooooooooo!
Hey, look at this way, we didn’t hear Canadians chanting in Spanish and Kane isn’t as ugly as a Sedin.
Go Kings Go!
Categories: L.A. Kings News