The Kings chose to battle today and I am proud of them for that. It was a losing battle, but sometimes that's just how it goes. Especially since the Kings came into their contest with the Montreal Canadiens this afternoon with a whole lot of strikes against them.
Strike 1: Mike Richards on injured reserve
Strike 2: Willie Mitchell out of the line-up
Strike 3: Suddenly shuffled lines because of Strikes 1 and 2
Strike 4: An abominable record on weekend daytime games
Strike 5: A 12:30 PM start
That's a lot to overcome and the Kings played like it. Try as they might, the chemistry just wasn't there with the lines. Passes were off the mark and positioning was just a step off at times. Dustin Penner and Davis Drewiske had understandable rust to shake off having not played for weeks.
The only thing that made the outcome hard to stomach was the absolutely lousy officiating in the last 5 minutes or so of the third period. The Kings did a very good job staying out of the box tonight, but sadly the refs saw the need to even things up in Montreal's favor late in the game. If there are fingers to be pointed at anyone, pick a zebra -- any zebra.
- Big props to Dustin Penner for shaking the gorilla off his back and FINALLY scoring a goal. There are still plenty of monkeys left until he proves tonight wasn't just a fluke, but he's off to a good start.
- I thought Bernier played well except for that first goal. With the Kings on the penalty kill, he probably should have been playing deeper in his crease. Instead, I think he was trying a little too hard to help and got caught at the front of the blue paint. Lesson learned.
- When Doughty got nailed along the boards early in the first period, I had a panic attack. Thank goodness he got up and was able to play the rest of the game, including assisting on Penner's goal. Don't even THINK about criticizing my favorite for not being tough enough.
- Why do Eastern Conference goalies all look like male models?
- Daryl Evans interviewed some Twilight fans recently and commented that Dustin Brown looked a little bit like a vampire because he was missing so many teeth. I think he's right.
- I'm not sure where our National Anthem singer came from, but he did a very nice job. It's refreshing to hear a traditional version of the song every once in a while. Bonus points since he did the Canadian National Anthem en francais. Maybe the Habs brought him along on the trip.
- Speaking of the Habs, I am typically disgusted by their fans. Booing OUR National Anthem, the darn "Ole, Ole!" chants, and generally drunken and obnoxious comments have been my past experience when they have visited Staples Center. Tonight, they were actually tolerable for the most part -- except for the 4 dudes 2 rows behind me that talked smack the entire game. At least there was no booing or chanting. You folks are welcome back next year.
- THIS never gets old.
The Kings have a couple of days off to regroup before they head down to Anaheim Tuesday, then return to Staples Thursday night to face the Minnesota Wild. Hopefully we can find some offense before then -- and get some new zebras.
GO KINGS GO!