Sunday, January 24, 2010

Kings Figure Out How(ard)

Life can be funny at times. Occasionally, things just have a way of working themselves out.

After the recent meeting between the Kings and Red Wings - that resulted in a 2-1 loss for LA, despite putting up 52 shots on goal - the last person many Kings fans wanted to see again was Wings goalie Jimmy Howard.

Fortunately, LA won the rematch 3-2 on Saturday in Detroit...and in the process the Kings figured out a few things:

...they figured out how to come back when down two goals to a good team. The Kings seemed to wilt after San Jose scored their second goal in Tuesday's game. Today was different. Down 2-0 before the first period hit the halfway point, the Kings pulled it together, finally tying the game a little more than six minutes into the third. A nice achievement for the Kings, made even better by the fact that Detroit entered the game 17-0-4 when leading after two periods.

...Coach Murray somehow figured out how to get even more out of Wayne Simmonds. It's almost like it doesn't matter who he's paired with. Wayne the Train just makes everybody play better. Pick up one of his bobble heads at the game on February 11th and he'll probably make you better at something too.

...they figured out how to beat Detroit when it mattered, when they were nipping at their heals in the standings. The Wings had beaten the Kings 22 of the last 24 times they played...with Detroit recently coming back from the dead and reentering the playoff race, it was never more important than tonight to beat them. That's how you make the playoffs when you're already in the top eight, you keep beating the teams below you.

...Anze Kopitar once again figured out a way to score without Ryan Smyth. All in all it was actually one of Kopi's better games this season. The new WAR line (Wayne-Anze-Ritchie), put together on Thursday for the Buffalo game, had another solid outing. All three guys had multi-points. Don't like the name of the line? Well, come on, it's better than what they're calling the top line in San Jose - the burger line. You want to call this the 're-mix' line instead, since that what Murray is doing right now?

...they figured out a way to get more pucks on Brad Richardson's stick...and that's a good thing...the Kings are 6-0-1 when he's scored this season, the only blemish being a shootout loss when the Blues visited LA on December 5th...tonight he picked up the game winner with about eight minutes left in the third.

There is at least one thing the Kings haven't figured out how to do though... win a face off with anybody other than Jarret Stoll at the dot. Number 28 was the only player above 50% on the night, going 10-16 (63%).

It needs to be addressed...and a few possible options were covered in my Trade Winds article yesterday (available here).

In the meantime, it's on to Toronto - where the Kings need to figure out how to keep the momentum going.

Figuring out how to pick up another two points is the top priority at the moment.

The Mayor

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