Kings Hurt the Canucks Today
Friday night Nine Inch Nails played STAPLES Center. Call it ghosts, aurae, spirits, whatever you will. The Kings feasted on whatever it was that stayed in the building as they walloped the Vancouver Canucks 5-1.
The Canucks bowed down before the ones they served. They got what they deserved. Their god is dead and no one cares. They stepped right up, marched, pushed, crawled right up on their knees. Okay. I'll stop.
Hurt. It was 153 seconds of hurt in the second period that gave the Kings the game. In the time it takes to listen to a verse and chorus of the song "Hurt", the Kings thoroughly dominated the Canucks in every facet of the game.
The Canucks kept getting beat behind their own net. Dwight King won the puck behind the net, centered it to Mike Richards in front of the crease who dropped the puck into the net at the exact midway point of the second period to give the Kings the 3-1 lead.
The Canucks pulled Roberto Luongo after Slava Voynov and Anze Kopitar beat Alexander Edler behind the net for Justin Williams' goal at 11:46, but that didn't matter. With Eddie Lack in goal just 47 seconds later, Tyler Toffoli and Mike Richards went on a 2-on-1 that netted Toffoli's second goal. Along with an assist to Richard's goal Toffoli had a career-high three points, his second career multi-point game.
Vancouver had a glimmer of momentum on their side after Dan Hamhuis got the Canucks to within a goal 8:52 in the game. They had just gotten their forecheck going making it difficult for the Kings to clear the puck from their zone. But two minutes, 33 seconds was all it took for the Kings to run away with the game.
This is surprising since this was the same Canucks team that handled the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. "As good as we were in San Jose, we weren't there tonight in a lot of different phases," Canucks head coach John Tortorella admitted.
Find My Way. With the exception of impressive home wins against the Dallas Stars, Phoenix Coyotes and San Jose Sharks, the Kings have not been the team we've been used to seeing the last several seasons. This team has appeared lethargic or, even worse, content after making the Western Conference Finals in consecutive seasons.
The forecheck was missing. The physical play was M.I.A. This team looked like a shell of their former selves.
As tempting as it is, Nine Inch Nails and whatever mysticism that surrounds Trent Reznor was not the reason for this re-emergence of the Kings. Perhaps more of the credit should go to the newcomers to this season's lineup Tyler Toffoli, Linden Vey and Alec Martinez.
"They did well, not just the forecheck but handling the puck," Mike Richards said about the forwards Vey and Toffoli. "That's a quick team over there, and to control the puck like they did and have the confidence to make plays. They're both smart players, so it's nice to see them to go from practice to game with that same mindset."
For Vey who got his first point of his career with an assist in the first period, it's about doing his job.
"When you get called up, you've got to bring something to the table," Vey said. "I think Toffoli and I bring a little bit of energy and excitement. We're new to the league so we have a lot of excitement coming into the game."
All of the forecheck and physical play brought a smile to head coach Darryl Sutter. "The majority of goals in this league are scored off of the forecheck," he said. "Tonight was no different."
A Warm Place. This doesn't pertain to much of anything other than a long-standing gripe I have about the STAPLES Center. Talking to many out-of-town staff, especially those from the land of Canadia, they complain that STAPLES Center is the coldest arena they've ever experienced. It's no lie. It's really cold.
Of course the only thing that matters is how the Kings respond to it. So far, they're 7-3 at home, so they seem okay with it.