Thursday, March 3, 2011

Kings vs Coyotes: Beware the Dog

With 6 weeks until the end of the regular season, the Kings faced a significant challenge in the visiting Phoenix Coyotes.  Historically, the Yotes have had the Kings number no matter what the standings look like, and tonight they came to Staples Center in possession of a play-off spot in spite of a 4 game losing streak. 

If you've ever worked with animals before, you know rule number one -- don't mess with an injured one.  They bite.

I don't mean Bailey, I mean that poor little Coyote he has hanging by a string.
Luckily we had a new weapon in the line-up in 6 foot 4 inch, 245 pound frame of Dustin Penner, starting his career as a King after being traded from Edmonton at the deadline.  Terry Murray was widely quoted in interviews as having no expectation for Penner to be the franchise "savior," but it certainly doesn't hurt to have more size and skill in the lineup.

Yup...he's BIG.

Both teams seemed to be feeling each other out during the first period, and neither squad saw luck on the power play.  The second was more up tempo, but still a largely even battle for puck possession, with both teams combining for only 27 shots by the end of the period.  Finally, the Kings gained some momentum in the 3rd and the power play woke up with a goal from that reliable "Geezer" Jarret Stoll.  

Winning face-offs is key, people.
As it turns out, this time the Desert Dogs were all bark and no bite and one goal was all it took for a win in regulation.  With the win, the Kings jumped from 8th to 5th in the Western Conference standings!

Quick hits and notes:
  • Jonathan Bernier earned his second shut-out last night.   He only had to stop 25 shots to do it, but he got the job done when it was needed.  Solid work kid!
I think I see a smile behind that mask...
  • Coyotes back-up goalie (and former King) Jason LaBarbera drew the ire of fans in my section for standing too much and blocking our view with his enormous goalie butt. One fan yelled loud enough that he actually sat down! Sadly that didn't last long.
Barbs has got back, baby....
  • My laugh of the night came courtesy of The Mayor, who heckled Coyote Paul "Biznasty" Bissonette with this line -- "Don't get greedy, you've already played 5 shifts tonight!". That got a prompt "F*** YOU!" and a smile from Biz.    Good times, people!
We see you Biz!
  • Based on the lack of fans blocking my view, Coyotes people do not travel outside Arizona to see their team play.  This was great news after the crowd of Wingnuts in my face Monday night.
  • Dustin Penner is not only huge,  he has very pretty eyes. I saw them looking at the sign I made him.  The Queen loves you, kid.
As exciting at this game was, there is no rest for the Kings.  The conference leading Vancouver Canucks are coming to Staples Center on Saturday at 1 PM, and with them comes another test of our potential play-off mettle.  So rest up Kings fans.  It's going to be a BIG weekend!


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