It's been a while since the Kings played an afternoon game, which is a very good thing. Last season, we had an abysmal record on afternoon starts, including shocking losses to inferior teams. With the Western conference playoff race still tight, losses are the last thing we need.
It seems the Kings can't avoid shocks of some kind on Saturdays though. The surprises started early with news that the Washington Capitals picked up Marco Sturm off waivers. Couple that with a potentially season-ending shoulder injury to Kings prospect Andre Loktionov, the Kings were back to a gaping hole at left wing on the top line. Luckily Coach Murray has plenty of practice shuffling lines, so Brad Richardson vaulted from 4th liner/scratch to top line left wing. Kevin Westgarth filled the hole left by Richardson.
Luckily our opponents, the Colorado Avalanche, were decimated with injuries and out of playoff contention, so this game should have been an easy win. Up until the third period it certainly looked that way, with the Kings riding a 3-0 lead on goals from Kopitar, Martinez and Doughty. The biggest reason the score wasn't higher was the Kings continued inability to score on not one, but two, 5-on-3 power play chances. Then late in the third, the Avalanche got their own chance with a two man advantage and promptly scored.
|Don't look now folks, but the wheels are about to come off the bus.|
Two more goals quickly followed, and all of a sudden this Kings were on the verge of throwing away an "easy" win. Luckily the boys came to their senses in a hurry and held it together to secure a 4-3 win in regulation.
Some fun notes from the evening:
- Congrats to Drew Doughty on his 10th goal of the season! The milestone apparently triggered a sizeable bonus, which is enough to buy a really expensive car. Or a house in the valley. Or a Jarret Stoll-like wardrobe.
|Aww shucks...just doing my job....|
- Congrats also go out to Ryan Smyth on his 400th NHL assist!
- One of the Kings traditions I love is honoring a military "Hero of the Game." This honoree made the most of his time on the jumbotron with a sweet proposal to his lady love! They looked adorable and very happy. Hockey brings the love!
- Finally, one of the more interesting experiences of the night was a close up look at one of the Avs trainers cleaning blood off David Koci's jersey after his fight with Kevin Westgarth. No clue who the blood belonged to, but if you're looking for a game-used jersey WITH DNA included, look for this one on e-Bay.
Next up, the Kings take on the always challenging Detroit Red Wings at Staples Center at 7:30 on Monday. This is the start of a week loaded with tough conference opponents, so remember to cheer LOUD!
GO KINGS GO!