The Kings faced off against a pretty strong Avs squad (at least by pre-season standards) and managed to shrug off a slow start to grab the comeback win. The Avalanche tallied in under 3 minutes, then again early in the 2nd to pull ahead by 2 goals. However, the Kings persistence paid off, netting them the last 4 goals in a row.
The Avalanche iced many of their regulars, including Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny, Chris Stewart, Peter Mueller, Kyle Quincey, Scott Hannan, as well as starting keeper Craig Anderson. The Kings were without their entire first line of Kopitar, Brown, and Smyth. They also sat their top-4 defensemen Doughty, Mitchell, Scuderi, and Johnson. The fact that the Kings iced a fairly weak squad against a strong Avs squad is a good sign for the depth of the team.
Some notes from the game:
-The Avs were very undisciplined, giving the Kings 11 power play chances, yet the Kings only managed one PP goal. Missing the top half of the lineup is one cause, but it’s an area that will need to be addressed.
-John Zeiler was very effective as an agitator, drawing at least 3 penalties while taking none himself. He may have taken some strides toward a 4th line role with his performance tonight.
-The Kings out shot the Avs 42-23, a margin that is surprising considering the Kings lack of stars in this game. Drewiske led all Kings with 5 shots (and had a team worst minus-2). Thomas Hickey, Jarret Stoll, and Justin Williams all had 4 shots apiece. Corey Elkins was the only Kings player without a shot.
-The Kings started the game off well in the faceoff circle, but eventually trailed off to finish the game 29-31. At one point the were 19-10, which means they went 10-21 after that point. Not great.
-Both Kevin Westgarth and Jordan Nolan dropped the mitts. Both are big wingers vying for an enforcer role with the team.
-Kyle Quincey showed no mercy for his former club, tallying a goal and a helper.
-Both goals against for Bernier were scored on the short side. He finished with 21 stops on 23 shots.
-Defensive prospect Andrew Campbell finished with a team best plus-3 as well as an assist, which is surprising since he logged the least amount of time of all Kings defenders with 13:53. Peter Harrold had just over 23 minutes, the most by a Kings skater.
-Williams and Stoll, likely linemates in the upcoming season, each had 2 points on the night. Parse, their other linemate, had 0 points. Brad Richardson scored, potentially creating a debate about whether he should swap places with Parse.
-Hickey was solid and logged over 20 minutes of ice-time. He’s making a case to take that 6th defense spot. The Kings could use another PP point-man and Hickey is the best choice in that regard of the eligible prospects.
-The Kings 2nd goal came against a cold John Grahame. They scored on their first shot on the keeper. Grahame, who hasn’t played in the NHL in 2 season, allowed 3 goals.
The Kings face Phoenix on Thursday night with a more skilled lineup (per Rich Hammond):
Will the skilled squad outdo the lineup of grinders? Both squads play tomorrow, with the lineup listed above playing at 7:30pm PT at Staples and tonight’s squad playing at 7pm PT at Phoenix. Weird, huh?
About the Author
Written by Eric Cooney
Eric Cooney was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina, and lives in Los Angeles, CA. He shares his thoughts on the NHL as one man who is a northerner, southerner, east coaster, and west coaster. Follow him on Twitter @EricCooney