Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kings 5, Wild 2: Scoring by Committee is Possible!

Hey, Minnesota, thanks for bringing your crappy weather to LA.  I had to put on a jacket today and that does not make me happy.

I was a little concerned today about which Kings team would show up tonight.  After awhile I finally decided that I would be happy with any outcome as long as the Kings didn't take more than 2 penalties.  Lately their lapse in discipline has been killing them since the Kings penalty kill is nowhere near as good as it was last year at this point in the season.  Last season I sorta didn't mind too much that the Kings couldn't score on the power play because at least they weren't allowing many goals against during the penalty kill.  The opposite is true this season.; the power play is finally clicking, but the penalty kill is not very awesome, which sucks since they've been taking so many damn penalties!

(Getty Images/Jeff Gross)
Best NHL Movember moustache? Indeed.

Here are three highs and three lows that I took away from the game.    Let's start with the negatives since I like ending on a positive note.

The Not-So-Low Lows:
  1. The Kings did take more than 2 penalties, but at least they didn't run into penalty trouble until after they had established a wide lead.  Furthermore, I fully support penalties when you're standing up for your teammates for a dirty play.  On the replay of the Brad Staubitz checking Anze Kopitar, you could see that Staubitz swung his arm around after the check to try and hit Kopi in the face.  Uncool, dude.  So fucking uncool.  I was very happy to see Simon Gagne hurl himself onto Staubitz to stand up for Anze.  That was pretty sweet (and I mean sweet both as in awesome and adorable).
  2. The Kings almost went scoreless through 3 consecutive power plays totaling 9 minutes.  But, with less than a minute remaining on the 5 minute major power play, Martinez fought off a Wild player to somehow get #stickonpuck to get the Kings a much needed power play goal.  This goal put the Kings up 2-0 and I wonder how different the game would have played out if the Wild had killed off that 5 minute major penalty.
  3. The Kings kinda got lackadaisical in the third period.  The Kings need to channel the 2009 New Orleans Saints and learn to "Finish Strong".
It's always a relief anytime both Dany Heatley and Devon Setoguchi are invisible.  Let's be honest: the Wild looked like shit.  I don't believe for a second they are as bad of a team as they looked tonight.  I'm just glad the Kings were on top of their game.  There were many strong points in this game; here are three highs that stuck out to me:
  1. Kings finally got "scoring by committee".  I mean c'mon, Colin Fraser scored!  Matt Greene scored! Anytime a 4th liner scores or a defenseman not named Drew Doughty or Jack Johnson scores will be a good game.  It got to the point that the crowd at Staples Center sounded like they expected any decent shot by any Kings player to go in. 
  2. Minnesota didn't get a power play until 19:20 of the second period.  This was the Simon Gagne penalty that I described above and I think it's fine that he took the penalty even though the Wild eventually scored on that power play in the 3rd period.  The next Wild power play wasn't until 4:22 of the third period.  The Kings were disciplined, but still played aggressively and with lots of energy and intensity, especially early in the game.  I'm sure Jonathan Quick was relieved he didn't have to stand on his head through half the first period.
  3. Not only did the Kings get scoring from unlikely sources, but they scored early!  None of this "cram amazing hockey into the last 15 minutes of the game" crap.  They started strong, built up a nice lead, and then held on to finish off the Wild.  
Feel free to add your highs and lows in the comments. Overall, a solid game by the Kings.  Well done boys!

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