It wasn't pretty. We're still not the dominant team we were in October. But boy, the Kings needed one in the win column and they finally got it, outscoring the Florida Panthers 3-2 in regulation. That's two huge points and critical momentum going into Saturdays contest against the Western Conference leading Detroit Red Wings.
Jarret Stoll and the Geezers got it started right in the first, only to see the Panthers tie it up before the end of the period. The second was up and down, and mostly down on the officiating side of things. For anyone reading who attended the game, is it just me or did we Justin Williams get royally ROBBED of a breakout goal? And then the robbery continued with NO penalty shot when there was obvious interference. Oh, and we don't get ANY KIND OF PENALTY? Just kill me now!
Then early in the 3rd, I was reminded what a crazy game hockey can be. I'm chatting with my buddy Collector Joe and I pose the question, "Can you explain this attraction we have with Peter Harrold?" I was fully intending to finish the thought with, "Drewiske is bigger and doesn't play worse, right?" Then the unthinkable happened. Clifford freed up a puck in front of the Panthers net, made a nice pass back to Harrold near the blue line, and Harrold BURIED IT! I turned to Joe and asked, "Did that just happen?"
Kudos to Harrold on his first goal this season, and BIG UPS to rookie Kyle Clifford on his first NHL point! Let's get this kid a goal next, shall we?
THIS GUY also had a big night - #1 Star of the Night.
I'm not gonna lie to you. When they announced Kopitar as the third star for getting the game winner, I honestly thought Quick was going to get YET ANOTHER #1 Star of the Night. Doughty played more like last season's Drew Doughty against the Panthers than he has all year, but was still far from what he's capable of doing. Did he win points with the media for saying this was a "must win game?" Maybe. Maybe this will be the moment that opens the floodgates and returns that waterfall of talent to the ice. We love you kid, just keep your foot on the gas pedal, because you AND this team still have work to do.
Are the "real" Kings back? The big test comes Saturday against Detroit.
GO KINGS GO!