2/24/15 7:30pm So this is my first Kings blog. I’ve chosen a good time to start, considering the Kings are riding a 7 game winning streak. They’re playing perennial play-off team, the Detroit Red Wings. Having switched from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference only last season, the Red Wings only face the Kings twice a year and haven’t faced each other in the play-offs since 2001. So there isn’t really a rivalry that I’m aware of. The Kings are wearing those sweet throwbacks that I’m only used to seeing in highlights of Bobby Orr dangling around the hapless expansion era Kings. See 3:22
The Kings jump on an early two on one. It looks like Kopitar tried to sneak one past Gustavsson instead of dish it to Gaborik, which didn’t work out. The Red Wings commit a holding the stick penalty. This seems to be the Wings go to desperation move in the D zone as that’s all I saw in their series against the Bruins last year with no penalties being called. The Kings score on the ensuing power play on a tip in front of the net by Dustin Williams assisted by Kopitar and Muzzin. Kings are doing a good job so far putting bodies in front of Jonas Gustavsson and it looks like it’s paying off. Gaborik hits the post on a sloppy play by the Wings, right in front of their own blue line, which coaches will tell you is one of the most dangerous places to turn over the puck. The puck seems to be bouncing a lot at Staples tonight. The Kings are called for a tricky tack penalty and now face the league’s best power play. It looks like the Red Wings are using the overload on their power play trying to get their right wing open for a one-timer. The Kings are playing strong defensively. As Bob Miller has informed the audience the Wings have just registered their first shot on goal about 9 minutes into the first period. More sloppy apprehensive play on defense by the Wings. Quick seems to be a little rusty as he just fought off his second shot. The Kings are throwing their bodies around, two strong hits within a minute of each other with the biggest being Braydon McNabb on Joakim Andersson. The Kings continue to play strong on defense. The Kings are using their size advantage to not allow the Red Wings much space or time to think. They are also controlling the front of the net, the Red Wings are getting bodies in front but the Kings are not allowing second chances. At the end of one period the Kings lead 1-0 2nd Period: Thomas Tatar gets sent for a ride by I’m not sure who. Trevor Lewis takes a low percentage shot looking for a rebound, he might have shot it lower and not right into Gustavsson’s bread basket. Dwight King commits a hooking penalty, it’s not a good idea to give the league’s best power-play too many chances. I did not know Jeff Carter Kills penalties. As a player who plays in the West, he doesn’t seem to get a ton of recognition as a star in the league, but playing on the penalty kill with his speed he certainly seems like he would have a few short handed goals……annnnd he doesn’t. I’m learning things! The Kings Defense is breaking down a little more. My prediction is the Wings score the next goal probably on a feed from behind the net. (I was almost right) Jonas Gustavsson commits a weird penalty. The Kings are utilizing the umbrella on their brief power-play; they might have had a goal if it weren’t for a stick in a lane at the end of the power play. The Kings are allowing more scoring opportunities, but no second chances which seems to be the key so far. They haven’t given up a lot of rebounds. Justin Abdelkader draws a penalty with the Red Wings specialty, holding the opponents stick for outrageous amounts of time. I think I’ve discovered their secret to success, opposing teams cant play without control of their sticks. Another Penalty Kill, the Kings have held the best power play in the league to no power play goals in four chances. 1-0 after 2 3rd Period: Whoever that assistant coach is, he sounds like he has a raging clue.
Uh oh, another penalty. That was a pretty horrendous call, if anything it was a light slash. There are some teams who seem like they always get the benefit of the doubt. Smaller, faster, cough (more popular) teams. IE the Wings, Canadians, Canucks. Kopitar elects to shoot again on another two on one, this time it looked like the better option. Kronwall with the start a scrum, wait for larger teammate to step in move. I hate the Red Wings. Maybe Carter doesn’t earn quite as much recognition because he suffers from the Milan Lucic, oh I forgot you were on this team syndrome. I just realized he was playing again. Braden Mcnabb makes a terrible pass resulting in a scoring change against, but the Kings once again do not allow a second opportunity. The Red Wings turn the puck over in the danger zone again. The Kings get their third power play. The Red Wings are doing better clearing people out from in front of Gustavsson. The Red Wings clear the puck over the glass cleanly and the Kings have a 5-3. The Kings cannot convert the 5 on 3 but are peppering Gustavsson. Gustavsson at 6’3 takes up a large portion of the next. The Kings ice it, they will likely face a 6 on 5 at the next face-off. If the Wings score, it will be on a feed from behind the net where the Kings seem to struggle to defend, though they are looking stronger on defense this period. There is a big scrum in front of the net, Abdelkader and Doughty are taking swings at each other. Quick pancakes someone on the head with his glove. The Kings win their 8th straight. Final Score; 1-0 Kings. Final Thoughts This game was well fought on both ends but the Kings clearly had the cleaner more mistake free play. Jonathan Quick earns his 35th career shutout relatively easily (on 20 shots) although he did make a few key saves, including a “Look what I found” save during a penalty kill. Being new to watching regular season Kings games, this seems like the prototypical “Kings victory.” The Kings used their speed and size to their advantage to impose their will on a smaller albeit offensively skilled team. As I mentioned multiple times, although the Red Wings had some good scoring chances, the Kings almost never allowed a good second chance. I think the most telling stat in this game besides the fact that the Red Wings only managed 20 shots is that they also were awarded FIVE POWER PLAYS. With the league’s best power play “by far” in the words of Bob Miller, only recording 20 shots and no goals indicates the strong defensive game that the Kings had. The Wings struggles on the PP also probably resulted from the fact that Henrik Zetterberg missed the game after suffering a head injury a couple games ago. All in all, this looks like the Kings team I saw in the playoffs in 2012 and 2014. Bob Miller mentioned that at this time last year, the Kings actually had fewer points than they do this season.