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Kings Are 1-0 in Darryl Sutter Era

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For anyone expecting the Darryl Sutter era Kings to be radically different from the Terry Murray era right away, boy was this game against the Ducks a letdown despite the 3-2 shootout victory.

However, as Captain Dustin Brown said after the game, “I don’t care how we do it. Right now it’s all about getting points.”

Even the atmosphere in the Mausoleum didn’t feel much different. Despite yet another sold out crowd, the crowd was as solemn as ever. Maybe it was because of Substitute Organist relieving Dieter Ruehl from what I’m guessing was exhaustion after playing for both Lakers-Clippers games this week. The lack of defense exhibited in those two games surely must have strained those finger muscles. But with Substitute Organist’s decision to play Mozart’s “Rondo alla Turca” in the middle of the second period might have confused a couple of people.

Non sequiturs aside, despite the continued lack of goal scoring there were some improvements. “We had a good start, and we did a lot of good things,” the 1-0 Sutter commented.

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How understated. The Ducks looked paralyzed for most of the first period unable to break through the neutral zone and get scoring chances against the Kings.

“I liked the way our forwards played,” Sutter continued. “I thought they were really good in all three zones.”

Particularly of note was the return of Mike Richards after a concussion suffered on Dec. 1. After Nik Hagman broke the scoring open in the second period, Richards won a faceoff in the offensive zone, got the puck to Drew Doughty in the left point, collapsed towards the crease and deflected Doughty’s shot into the net to tie the game.

“It was nice to help out there,” Richards said. It should be noted the Kings are 12-2-2 when Richards records a point. “Do I make anything of it? No, I guess I’ve got to score. No pressure. Thanks.”

Richards’ return also seemed to liberate Anze Kopitar making him more aggressive in the offensive zone. Take this play below with him coming down the right wing, passing the puck to a trailing Brown down the middle for the go-ahead goal in the third period.

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“Great play by Kopitar,” Sutter said.

It’s a good start to the Sutter era, but a better test will come Friday night when they go up to San Jose to face the Sharks before the two-day Christmas break. Everyone in the dressing room seemed pleased with the game tonight, and hopefully that confidence helps them get back to where they should be.

As for the Ducks, that’s a whole other story. As a fellow media scumsucker asked me, can coach Bruce Boudreau be fired twice in one season? Just something to think about as the Ducks who are 2-6-2 since firing Randy Carlyle get an extra day off tomorrow.

In college basketball action, Cal State Northridge lost to Washington 74-51, Cal State Fullerton pulled out a win at home against Portland State 92-86, No. 12 Kansas beat USC 63-47 at the Galen Center and Long Beach State upset 14th-ranked Xavier 68-58.

TONIGHT’S ACTION

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NHL
LA Kings at San Jose Sharks. 7:30 p.m. FSWest, AM 1150 KTLK.

College Basketball
Richmond Spiders at UCLA Bruins. 7:30 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 570 KLAC.