Thursday, October 15, 2009

De Ja Vu all over again

After opening up with back to back 2-1 wins on this road trip, the Kings lost tonight for the second consecutive game by a score of 4-2. Wait...there goes an empty net goal by Detroit - make it 5-2. They were in both games at different points, but on back to back nights failed to show the 60 minute game they had been playing recently.

While some were quick to shovel the blame for Wednesday's loss on backup goaltender Erik Ersberg, the reality is the outcome wasn't his fault. You could maybe ride him for one of the goals. Yet, that wasn't the game. The Kings played a dismal opening period, one that probably cost them the game. In order to win on the road against a team playing as well the Rangers, the Kings need to put forward a greater effort from beginning to end.

Back to goaltending, credit must be given to Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. He stood on his head all night long and looked brilliant in net. The Kings certainly were putting the pressure on him, out shooting New York 36-21...including a staggering 10-1 in the final period. But as luck would have it, the Rangers scored on that one shot!

Captain Dustin Brown had the right attitude after Wednesday's loss, saying the team needed to put the game behind them and focus on Detroit. Heeding his own words, Brown got the party started just over five minutes in with his first goal of the year. Finally.

There wasn't much to cheer about after the opening period though. Sure, Justin Williams scored late in the third (Finally!) to pull the Kings within one. However, the Red Wings answered soon after and controlled the rest of the game. For the full three periods, the Kings were out shot 32-26. To beat Osgood, they needed more shots on net - which goes back to having that "shot mentality" the coaching staff talked about all summer. It just didn't happen tonight.

With Ivanans out of the line-up vs. Detroit we never heard "Five for Fighting", instead, we give you the "Five for Five" bullet points on tonight's loss:

  • It didn't matter that the Red Wings were without several of their top players. The Kings have now tasted victory just once in their last 11 trips to Detroit.

  • One of the greatest defenseman of all time, the classy Nicklas Lidstrom, assisted on a goal by Zetterberg. It was the 1000th point in his glorious NHL career.

  • Anze Kopitar did it again. He added an assist on the Williams goal. If not for the Ranger game last night, he would have at least one point in every Kings game this year.

  • Is it just me or does it seem like Davis Drewiske is constantly on the ice? Every time I look up, there he is. Every few minutes it seems like Bob Miller is saying "pass by Drewiske (or something similar)." He isn't leading the team in ice time according to the official stats. But, I swear he is out there all the time. So far, it hasn't really been a problem. He's a plus 5 for the year, including +1 in the last two games (both losses). Better yet, he hasn't had one game this year as a minus for the night.

  • The Kings were uncharacteristically lacking discipline tonight. Coach Terry Murray spends hours each week preaching the value of playing the game with smarts. Several dumb penalties were taken, including two by Ryan Smyth. Like Ersberg the night before, Smyth didn't cost the team the game. He did however not play the same game he's shown in his first half dozen as a King. Expect a bounce back game in Columbus this weekend.

Four games in to the road trip the Kings are 2-2. That's passable. Not great.

Columbus and Dallas - two teams that will be in the hunt all year - are games the Kings need to win if they're going to follow through with their plans of making the playoffs next April.

Four points were lost in the last 36 hours. The Kings can ill afford to lose four more before returning home next week.


1 comment:

  1. It would have been nice if the Kings could have completed two consecutive passes at any time during the game, also I felt this was Kopitars worse game so far this year, pretty much invisible. Lastly, it might not be fair to say that last nights loss was Ersbergs fault, but he was badly outplayed by Lundquist. I feel the difference in goaltending was the difference in the game.