Thursday, January 8, 2009
The Anaheim Ducks were in Staples Center, the arena was "sold out," and the hecklers were heckling. These games against the Ducks are always questionable; usually one team has a bad game and the other pounces on all the loose pucks and blatant opportunities. Other times the teams actually seesaw in terms of their momentum from period to period, which was the makeup of this game. The Kings scored the first three goals of the game on five shots (I think it was). Bobby Ryan stepped up and scored a hat trick, but Alexander Frolov shut them down by scoring the game winner off a rebound in front of the net. The Kings are two points richer by beating the Ducks 4-3 and I was satisfied with their efforts.
Anze Kopitar was back on his game notching the third goal of the game and looking so much better than he did in the game against the Philadelphia Flyers. In that game, Greener put it best when he said that Kopi looked hungover. He had nothing in the tank last week, but tonight he looked like his usual self and scored his much-needed 11th goal of the season. Before that goal, Wayne Simmonds started off the second period with a goal only 37 seconds in! Needless to say, we were all shocked and I was feeling pretty good about this new line of Kopi, Simmonds, and Frolov. I'm not sure if any of the lines tonight will remain for the next game, but perhaps this line will see more shifts in the future.
The penalty box was kept annoyingly warm by the bodies coming and going through the game. The Kings took seven penalties and Ryan scored one of his three right after the Kings had killed a 5-on-3. Not only was that frustrating, but it was compounded by the fact the Ducks had only taken three penalties of their own! The roles were reversed here and I did not like that feeling of constantly having to kill off penalties when the Kings REALLY needed to come out with a win. Halfway through the game, it was announced that the Dallas Stars had lost to the Detroit Red Wings and that the Phoenix Coyotes had won their game against the Tampa Bay Lightening. So this meant that if the Kings lost, they'd stay 5th in the Pacific Division. But they were able to pull out the win, thanks to my favorite Russian who got assists from two of my favorites, Teddy Purcell and Kyle Quincey.
Speaking of Purcell, I mentioned before that I was glad he was now getting consistent time on the second unit of the PP. He seemed to have a bit of spark when he actually had the room to operate and get plays going. Because of this, I guess I just assumed that the number of minutes he would log would rise, but it appears that I was a bit preemptive in my thinking because he only had 13:51 of TOI tonight. Bah.
The goaltending was interesting as well. Jean-Sebastian Giguere let in two goals on three shots and was promptly replaced by Jonas Hiller who was basically just plain better than Giguere. I guess I'm not too surprised; the young almost always replace the old and feeble, right? Jonathan Quick did pretty well this game but made some egregious errors at times. Some were rookie mistakes, yes, but he didn't seem as aware as he has been. Hopefully he'll get his head in the right place soon. The Kings faceoff against the New Jersey Devils next and I'm pretty happy knowing that if Quick isn't back on it by Saturday, that the Kings have a reliable goalie on the bench who is patiently waiting his turn.