Despite the emerging trend of not scoring in the 1st period and allowing the first goal, the Kings fought their way to a 3-1 win over the visiting Atlanta Thrashers. The Thrashers came into L.A. with a 1-1-0 record, their win coming against a tough Caps team. Not to mention that on the same night their starting keeper had a fainting spell and was carted off the ice.
Let’s take a look at some stuff…
-The Kings defense was very good once again, allowing just 1 goal. Despite the shot total, the Kings D did a good job of limiting quality chances.
-Quick was solid and really has stepped up his game. Many felt that he would wilt quickly and Bernier would take over, but Quick is exceeding expectations and really rounded out his game this summer.
-Secondary scoring finally found its footing. Ryan Smyth potted 2 goals and a helper. Williams and Stoll each had 2 point games. Kopitar netted a helper as well.
-Doughty had a good game, finishing a plus-3 and added at least 2 very healthy hip checks.
-The Kings penalty kill was excellent, going 5 for 5. This is an area of strength for the Kings, but obviously not one they hope to rely on.
-The Kings relentless effort and grinding finally paid off. Ryan Smyth’s first goal was a crash the net rebound type play. Luck also factored in with Stoll getting a lucky tip off of Ron Hainsey’s stick on his goal, then Smyth getting a lucky hop on his empty netter. Despite the role of chance, it was the Kings constant pressure in the 3rd that got the job done.
-The Thrashers’ lone goal was a terrible miscue between Brad Richardson and the defense. Both parties thought the other was going to handle the puck, allowing Chris Thorburn to pick it up and deposit it in the net. Richardson had a rather forgettable night, as did Davis Drewiske (one of the other guilty parties). Drewiske made several bad passes and added a very poorly timed pinch.
-Jack Johnson had a good game, but his attempt at a toe-drag move at the blue line almost led to a breakaway for the Thrashers, just like his bobble led to the Glencross goal in Calgary. Johnson’s ability to handle the puck is a weapon for the Kings but he has to choose his spots better.
-Discipline. Especially in the 1st period, the Kings need to curb the bad penalties. Although 2 penalties were a bit questionable, both still reflect a tendency toward lazy plays.
-The forecheck for the Kings is fine. The problem is their inability to create space, move to a scoring area, and get a clean shot. Is the problem the system, line combinations, or just chemistry that hasn’t developed yet?
-Loktionov debuted on the first line and didn’t look out of place. It’s obvious that Kopitar needs another skilled guy on his line, rather than 2 power forwards.
-Schenn has had a handful of chances but just hasn’t found the net yet. It’s a positive thing though, he knows where to go and what to do to get goals, the bounces just haven’t found him yet.
-Ponikarovsky had a good game. He was strong on the forecheck and created some turnovers. After two pedestrian games to start the season, he’s starting to show what he brings to the table.
-The Kings hitting is an asset that will bear the fruit of scoring success at some point, but it hasn’t yet.
-It might be advantageous for the Kings to decide which teams really warrant Westgarth being in the lineup. There was little to enforce last night and having Clifford in the lineup would probably have been better.
The Kings have a rematch against Vancouver on Thursday, 7:30 pm PT. Will they rock the throwbacks again, this time for the home crowd?
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