It’s been a good week for the Los Angeles Kings! They are hot off a three game win streak after shutting down the Minnesota Wild on Saturday and the Anaheim Ducks in back to back games on Wednesday and Thursday. Round 1 of the “Freeway Faceoff” was at Staples Center on Wednesday night where the Kings beat the Ducks 2-1 in the seventh round of the shootout thanks to a beautiful goal by Justin Williams and ridiculous goaltending by Jonathan Quick (shocker). Round 2 took place in Orange County’s finest city of Anaheim, where the Kings again came out on top, outscoring the Ducks 5-3. The first period was scoreless but by the end of the second, the Kings were up 2-1 with a nice backhander from Mike Richards and a shorthanded goal from Simon Gagné. Gotta love the newbies! Good work by the Kings management on adding some offensive depth with these guys.
The third period was delayed SEVENTEEN minutes because the lights at the Honda Center wouldn’t come on. That didn’t surprise me. Sounds like typical Anaheim. What a god awful city, you’d never see a problem like that at Staples Center (but maybe I’m just biased). Once the lights fiiiinally came back on, the Kings made an impact early. Just two minutes into the third period, the recently recalled rookie Slava Voynov scored to put the Kings up by two. Voynov really knows how to make things hard on Kings management. Last time he was playing with the Kings (earlier this season when Drew Doughty was injured), there was a big debate about what to do with him. Ultimately, the Kings decided to send him back down to Manchester as it would be too much of a risk to send down any of the other guys that don’t clear waivers. Now, after yet another multiple point performance, it just doesn’t seem smart to send down a guy that has proven to be such a valuable asset to the team. The good news is that no one has to worry about that just yet because Alec Martinez remains on IR with no definite return date.
With the Kings leading 3-1, Toni Lydman of the Ducks went off to the box for interference AND unsportsmanlike conduct. It was a big 4 minute power play opportunity that the Kings obviously didn’t think they needed, judging by the lack of action. After the Ducks killed that one off, they gained momentum and started to take over. They were awarded a power play that they took full advantage of as the goal-scoring machine known as Corey Perry scored to make it a one goal game. If you watched the Ducks last season, you know that the final minutes of the 3rd period are the most dangerous for the opposing team. The amount of last minute goals that team can score is frightening. In fact, just 5 minutes after Perry’s goal, Andrew Cogliano scored his second goal of the game to tie it at 3-3. At this point, the Kings were probably kicking themselves for their lackluster effort on the 4 minute power play. Somebody really needed to take matters into their own hands and step it up. Thank god for Anze Kopitar. There’s a reason this guy is the face of the franchise. He came trudging up the ice, with determination in every stride, and eventually scored on Ducks goalie Dan Ellis with a nice little wrap around. 4-3 Kings! Phew.
But wait, it’s not over yet. 30 seconds later Jack Johnson gets a hooking penalty to give the Ducks a 6 on 4 opportunity (with Ellis pulled). After several great attempts by the Ducks, Mike Richards fired a shot into the empty net, the second shorthanded goal of the night, to set the final score at 5-3. Let’s hope the Kings can keep this momentum going into their next three games against some big opponents. Saturday at 1pm, they will play the Detroit Red Wings, followed by the San Jose Sharks on Monday night and the league leading Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday Nov 26th. They certainly have their work cut out for them, but for now, lets brag about this: