Saturday, January 15, 2011

Kings vs Oilers: Do Or Die

When you're supposed to be a play-off caliber team and the last place team in your conference rolls into town, only one game outcome is acceptable -- WIN.   Thankfully the Kings did just that tonight against the visiting Edmonton Oilers.

"If we didn't come out with this one, I think lips would be dragging on the floor," forward Justin Williams said.

The first period saw fast skating, 8 shots, and 2 goals for each team. The Oilers struck first, putting the momentum in their favor, but it was nice to see the Kings fight back for a change.   Drew Doughty and Wayne Simmonds, both slumping hard this season, combined to feed Marco Sturm for the Kings first goal of the night. Justin Williams had plenty of gas in the tank for a breakaway that led to the second tally by Anze Kopitar.

Things stayed hard fought in the second, beginning with a major hip check by Drew Doughty to level Taylor Hall along the right side boards.   In the scrum that ensued, Wayne Simmonds went down awkwardly and did not return to the game after being helped off the ice by his teammates. Later in the period, Jarrett Stoll scored a beauty to put the Kings ahead a goal. While shots remained fairly even (18-17 in favor of the Oilers), the Kings gained critical momentum with a period ending power play that extended 28 seconds into the third.

Unlike the rest of the games on this home stand, the Kings actually kept their foot on the gas pedal in the third, adding two more goals for a final score of 5-2.  Drew Doughty netted his third goal of the season, which combined with his assist and the hit to Hall also earned him the #1 Star of the Night.  Jarrett Stoll scored 2 goals, including the final empty netter, and was named #2 Star of the Night.

Some other tidbits of interest:
  •  Rogie Vachon was an incredible hockey player and IS an awesome human being.  That deserves Hall of Fame recognition, folks.  Put the guy in there already!
  •  Speaking of awesome human beings, hats off to resident do-gooder Daryl Evans for making a nice donation to a good cause this evening.

  • Great new Jumbotron video montage intro set to "Welcome to the Jungle" featuring black and white still photos to start, then turning to color and video.
  • Kudos to the Kings Care folks for their creative arrangement of the vintage mystery pucks tonight! They looked excellent and I was psyched to get a Willie Mitchell puck myself.
  • If I have to listen to Davis Gaines sing the national anthem one more time, I may scream.
  • Hats off to Kings fan "Terri" who answered Hat Trick Challenge questions wearing a TRULY vintage Rogie Vachon sweater. She's a true Kings fan!
  • The crew that was singing The Briggs hit "This Is LA" all night at the top of their lungs from the cheap seats? You're invited back anytime.  You rocked my world.
  • And finally, to whomever is calling the Kings game on this video (presumably someone at Hockey Night in Canada), get your shit straight.  Rob Blake DID NOT teach Drew Doughty a thing about hip checking, because he left the Kings before Drew arrived!  Credit Sean O'Donnell for that little skill.
Now the Kings hit the road for back-to-back games in Dallas (Monday) and St. Louis (Tuesday) before returning to Staples Center Thursday to take on the Phoenix Coyotes.  That's a lot of hockey in the next 5 days, but here's hoping the boys have turned the corner and get a nice stretch of wins before the All-Star break.


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