Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Keeping up with the Joneses

For nearly a month now defenseman Randy Jones has been an offensive star for the Kings, even though his primary responsibilities are at the other end of the ice. Oddly enough, he wasn't even on the team six weeks ago, let alone on the team's radar at the start of training camp.

Conversely, second year defenseman Drew Doughty came into the season with high hopes. His Calder-like rookie campaign would have earned him more praise in the hockey media had he played out East. But as any Western Conference coach will tell you, this kid cant be taken lightly. His defensive play is superb and he's the league leader among goals for his position.

However, since the Kings picked Jones up off waivers in early November, he had more points than Doughty in the 13 games they played together. This is by no means an inference that Jones is the better player. Not even close. Doughty is a franchise type player. They aren't even in the same ball park.

Prior to the game it was coach Terry Murray's decision to start backup goaltender Erik Ersberg that garnered much of the discussion. Yet, it will be a host of different characters that will dominate the post game headlines.

Teddy Purcell opened the scoring (yes, he still plays for the Kings) just after 6 minutes into the first period. When first intermission arrived though the Sharks were up 2-1, gaining the lead with less than a minute to go. It was the possible, probable and more than likely future King Patrick Marleau picking up his 20th goal of the season. If you're putting money on Alexander Frolov being traded sometime before the Olympic break in February, you may want to let your winnings ride and bet on seeing the former Sharks captain in LA next season.

Back to the game...

Fortunately, we're not dealing with last year's Kings team. They came storming back in the second period and did the unthinkable - scoring three goals on Nabokov in seven minutes. During that stretch Jarret Stoll tipped one in, Kopitar scored on the power play (seems that just hearing Ryan Smyth was close to returning was enough to light his inner lamp again) and Doughty one upped Jones (who had an assist earlier) by scoring a goal.

The Kings entered the third with a lead. Every time that's been the case this year, the Kings have won. However, things appeared to be falling apart when the Sharks tied it with less than nine minutes to play, as the traveling wilbury Manny Malhotra scored his 7th of the year. I'm sure he hasn't played for 18 different teams, it just seems like it. And I'm sure he hasn't scored in every game he's ever played against the Kings, but man - it sure seems like it.

As the game entered the overtime period there were already tons of great stories that had developed - Doughty and Jones trying their best to be point a night players, Kopitar finally scoring, Erik Ersberg giving up four goals on just 27 shots and his team was still going to leave town with at least a point...

And then it happened...

The most beautiful goal I can ever recall from the Captain, Dustin Brown. Skating in on the right side, he crossed the ice laterally, spun what seemed like slow motion - the good kind, where you can enjoy it...then shot the puck. Bamn, it slid under Nabokov and into the net. KINGS WIN!

Another victory. Another two points. Not to mention it moved the Kings a little closer to San Jose in the standings, with their second victory over the Sharks in three games this season.

Looks like the Joneses aren't the only ones they're keeping up with.


1 comment:

  1. Great read, thank you! I hope you're right about Marleau.