I tweeted before puck drop:
I am so relaxed before the Kings game. Why am I so relaxed? No nerves. No nervous energy. No, I am not medicated.
Crazy? Not really. By the end of the second, even after the Vancouver Canucks scored the late goal, I was not shaken. You know what? Neither were the Kings. The game had ebbs and flows, like any good game does and we did dominate most of the second period while they controlled the first half of the third, but the Kings at no point looked panicked. Our boys were confident, worked hard and played well. Over 60 minutes, we were the better team and the better team won, as it should be.
I am concerned for Kyle Clifford.
That was a dirty hit and, I don’t mean this as hyperbole but just self-evident fact, Vancouver is a dirty team. Byron Bitz? That was the player’s name that hit Clifford. Never heard of him. I hope I don’t hear his name for at least 3 games when he receives a nice suspension from Sheriff Shanahan…though he’ll probably get 1.
The only L.A. Kings player with whom I was very disappointed was Jarret Stoll. His penchant for bad penalties in the offensive zone has gone from random to maddening to expected. But with that one bad came a lot of good from the surprising Dustin Penner. It wasn’t just the game winning goal he scored but he worked hard out there every shift. I think it was in the second period, possibly the end of the first, when he broke up through sheer hustle what may have been a Vancouver goal. He skated, hit and played a simple game in the offensive and defensive zones. Color me hopeful.
Jeff Carter. Balance. That is what he brings. I know, I have written it before but it bears repeating. He is a critical piece to this team. He doesn’t need to be “great” to bring that balance and he wasn’t great tonight but he was good enough. Oh and the skate pass? Sick. Imagine if we get “great” Jeff Carter very soon when that ankle heals? Look out.
Live and die on special teams? Yup. I am not going to nitpick the powerplay. Hell, we scored twice on it. I will keep my smile instead. How wide is yours?
Mike Richards’ hit on Burrows…
So my fellow fanatics, we’re up 1-0. Robert Luongo, absent Mike Richards’ goal, had a damn good game. That good wasn’t good enough to beat us but it’s only 1-0. Quick was also solid. Game 2 is Friday. Only Friday matters at this point. Let’s be the better team on Friday.
Scribe’s Three Stars:
3. Mike Richards
2. Willie Mitchell
1. Dustin Penner