Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kings vs Flames: The Hockey Gods Giveth AND They Taketh Away

I'm not a particularly religious person, but I believe in God.  God loves hockey.  He also loves torturing Kings fans.   It's the only possible explanation for the conclusion of last night's Kings - Flames contest.

The Kings came into the game looking to break a 4 game home losing streak.  We were holding on to 6th place in the West, but hampered by anemic scoring and a still-powerless power play.  In our favor was the fact that the last meeting between the teams featured a huge Kings win at the Saddledome in Calgary for the first time since before the lock-out.

The Flames were only 2 points behind the Kings in the Western Conference as of last night.   They have struggled mightily this season and most people (including myself) had written them out of the play-off picture in February. Yet somehow they managed to claw their way back into contention.   They had also lost the night before in Anaheim.  For most of the season, teams who have lost in Anaheim before playing the Kings normally come into Staples Center angry and looking for payback.

 So we had two teams in desperate need of points and willing to do just about anything to get them.

Did we REALLY need to be reminded how close the Conference race is?

The formula the Kings needed for success was simple -- score goals. Score lot of goals.  Yeah....that didn't happen.

Thanks for the stick tap buddy, but maybe you could give me some goal support instead?
So what did happen?
  • It was a tough, physical, play-off style, old school crash and bang game.
  • Drew Doughty played his most physical hockey of the season in the first period.  Jack Johnson....had some trouble with the puck.
  • The second period started with a penalty kill featuring Matt Greene breaking his stick and getting stuck without a change for almost half the PK (Hockey God takes).  Thankfully our friend Mr. Crossbar stopped a couple of shots during the same period (Hockey God gives).
At least when when you're not holding a stick your hands are free to shove some dudes.
  • The last 2 minutes of the second was some of then most frustrating hockey I've ever experienced. Two back to back power plays and not one goal between them.
  • With just under 10 minutes left, disaster struck when Justin Williams got checked into the boards and skated off the ice with difficult, holding his arm.  After a visit with the doctor today, the verdict is a dislocated shoulder and 3-4 weeks rehab.  That means missing the rest of the season, and possibly the play-offs.
I told Bobby Scribe you were due for an injury.  Is Hockey God punishing me?
  •  Things looked up when the Kings finally scored in the 3rd.  Of course, then they did their usual mental meltdown and gave up a goal about a minute later.
  • When the regulation part of the game ended tied 1-1,  I posted this status to Facebook and Twitter.
    "Once again we give away a point to a conference opponent and we're off to OT. Hockey Gods, please help us."
  • Hockey God responded with a team lobotomy and a penalty for too many men on the ice for the last 2 minutes of overtime!  NOT WHAT I HAD IN MIND!
  • But Hockey God was ultimately kind, got us through overtime and to a shoot out.  Jonathan Quick was the Goalie Jesus and saved our butts once again, with some goal scoring help from two Saints named Stoll and Kopitar.
WOOHOO!  Time for some locker room jams, homies!

Now for the fun stuff....
  • HUGE props to Kings Captain Dustin Brown for donating $9425 to Red Cross Japan Earthquake relief. That's one dollar for every new Twitter follower he gained since he started the campaign.
PLEASE give my Captain the NHL Foundation Award!
  • It was weird to see former Kings Freddie Modin and Raitas Ivanans on the healthy scratch and injured reserve lists respectively.  Poor Raitas.  He's played ONE game THE WHOLE SEASON.
  • I love playing Canadian teams. You're always guaranteed to see people dressed like this on a day Los Angelenos are wearing coats and scarves.
Aren't your toes just a LITTLE cold? 
  • Judging by the lack of Canadian national anthem singers I could hear in the crowd, the Flames didn't bring many fans.   At least not patriotic ones like the Canucks.
  • Red is a great Afro color, but our Afros are better than your Afros, Flames fans.

  • How ironic is it that there was an Oscar Moller stick on the Kings Care auction last night, and now he's being recalled due to the Justin Williams injury?
  • Someone let Rental Man back in the building!  If you hate this guy as much as I do, join the Facebook "I Hate Rental Man" support group by clicking here.

So now the Kings face their toughest test of the week as they take on the visiting San Jose Sharks on Thursday.  San Jose is currently riding a 3 game win streak and leading the Pacific Division, so we have our work cut out for us.  But with or without Justin Williams, we can do this! So say it with me....


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