Thursday, March 6, 2008
Before the game started the Kings were on a 5-game losing streak and the Sens were on a skid of their own, so it was anyone's guess at to who would win. In Episode 4 of the "I'm Not a Puck Bunny Podcast" I stated that I wanted to see Ray Emery in net so that he and Cloutier could meet at center ice and have a throwdown. Well, I was incorrect in both instances as Gerber and Ersberg were both in net. I was actually surprised to see Gerber between the pipes because he had dropped both games against the Sharks and Ducks, so you'd think the coach would give him a break and put in the prima donna, but that didn't happen.
This was the Swedish kid's (Ersberg) Staples Center debut and he did not disappoint, but let me backtrack and get to the game.
There were only two note-worthy instances in this period:
- The first penalty kill the Kings had, they worked very well together to keep the Sens from advancing too far into their zone and cleared the puck multiple times, which, as a Kings fan is rare to see. Great kill and the players to note: Jeff Giuliano and Matt Ellis.
- Jason Spezza takes a slapper from the blueline straight at Ersberg and his helmet pops off his head. I haven't seen the replay on tv (but I have it DVR'd so I will watch it tomorrow) but it was crazy to see that happen live and in color. I just was hoping that there wasn't going to be any blood on his jersey, and when I saw that the jersey was still white, I breathed a sigh of relief.
- So it's here where the Kings start to play the kind of hockey they're being paid to play. Think that's harsh? Why don't you take it up with my heart that has been ripped out and stomped on multiple times by varies Kings games.
- The start of the period brought out three (3) scoring opportunities by the Kings; Brownie, Sully, and Cammy, respectively.
- Kings are on the PK at 1:56. They have another solid kill with Ellis making a showing. Another player that's been noticeable has been Spezza with his shots on; he's got some great foot speed going from a dead stop to full speed.
- Kings PP turns into a 5-on-3, and I'm not sure what was going on with the times when Frolov scored the first goal of the game, but it was awesome nonetheless. Kings Goal - Frolov (21) gets a PP goal from inside the slot at the hash marks (8:10). He gets a nice pass from Kopi who was at the half boards on the right; he gets the puck, lets it go, and it goes in between Gerber's left pad and the post.
- At one point in the second Blake was following a Sen along the boards and when they got to the goal line, Blake decided he'd had enough of him and threw an old school Rob Blake Hip Check. Seeing that honestly took me back to what he was like years ago when throwing the hip check was something that happened on a frequent basis. I really can't describe how cool that was to me.
- With about 5 or 6 minutes left in the period, the energy starts to rise. It started with a BS play by Volchenkov on Sully. Volchenkov basically hits Sully's left knee with his...body. Sully is down on the ice and Brownie rushes in. After order is restored, Volchenkov is on the Sens' bench, Sully in on the Kings' bench, and Brownie is in the box for 2 minutes. Grrrr. For some reason after this, the rest of the game turned into "let's pick on Sully as much as we can for the rest of the game." It seemed like the Sens had it in for Sully; I have no idea why and it was starting to annoy me.
- So the energy had risen and opportunities were opening up throughout this period. It seemed that both teams needed a full 20 minutes to wake up and realize that they were trying to play a hockey game!
- The standout so far is Brownie. He's going out every shift and making a difference. What about Ersberg? He's been stellar so far, but I feel that I need to see him perform the same way for more than a couple of games before I can start having any real faith in him. As an aside, Cloutier just can't get a break it seems. Maybe this is a sign that he should just hang up his skates and pursue some other career path...
- Standout player of this period is definitely Kings netminder: the Swedish Kid. It seems that he's square on every shooter that he faces. In the first period I was nervous about how he would fare, but by this point in the game, I'm pretty confident in his performance. He's stopping pucks every which way, but he looks so calm in all of his movements. Differences in Ersberg compared to some Kings goaltenders:
- Unlike Cloutier, Ersberg doesn't frantically search around for his rebounds. Why? Because he blocks shots and smothers the puck immediately.
- Unlike Aubin, Ersberg doesn't let rebounds bounce off him that go out 10 feet in front of him, which give opposing players the perfect chance for an immediate second opportunity.
- Unlike LaBarbera, Ersberg is...not 6'3".
- Kings 2, Senators 0
- Talk about lopsided shots on net:
- 1st period: Kings 8, Sens 16
- 2nd period: Kings 21, Sens 8
- 3rd period: Kings 3, Sens 16