Kings Honor Great Larry Murphy, Win Ugly Against Long Island
Because the Kings are honoring one of their greats in Larry Murphy, they thought it would be appropriate to wear those horrible ugly purple sweaters that would be better served relegated to a five-year-old's pajama set.
Since the game against the New York Islanders was a stinker, let's talk about Murphy.
Murphy was the Kings' first-round draft pick in 1980 and made his debut as a 19-year-old defenseman that season. He set records that season with 60 assists by a rookie defenseman and 76 points by a rookie defenseman. In his 242 games with the Kings he recorded 207 points including 52 goals.
As most longtime Kings fans know, ownership and management had a tendency to make boneheaded moves. One example: Murphy was traded to the Washington Capitals after six games in the 1983-84 season for Ken Houston and Brian Engblom.
As with most Kings players, he moved on to win four Stanley Cups: two with the Pittsburgh Penguins (1991 and 1992) and two with the Detroit Red Wings (1997 and 1998). He retired after the 2000-01 season and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.
In 21 seasons in the NHL, Murphy amassed 1,216 points with 287 goals and 929 assists. He had an additional 152 points in the playoffs with 37 goals and 115 assists. He is the fifth highest scoring defenseman in NHL history.
I guess I have to talk about the game now. The Kings won 3-0, but don't let the score deceive you. The Kings have had a terrible tendency of playing down to the competition. That's the only way I can explain how a team that has beaten the like of the Ducks, Sharks, Canucks and Blues can lose to the Calgary Flames at home.
It certainly looked like another one of those games for the Kings against the Islanders. After a couple of good shifts by the Kings to start the game, they seemed to put their foot off the gas pedal. If the Islanders were a halfway decent team, they would have won this game going away.
"Coming out we knew they had a high-powered offense," captain Dustin Brown said also noting the benefits of having played them several weeks ago in Long Island. "They have a few dynamic players up front you need to be aware of. We weren't as crisp or as clean as we wanted to be in the first."
But the Islanders being what they are, they allowed this one perfect moment for the Kings in the second period, a long bank pass by Alec Martinez to Anze Kopitar with one of the prettiest goals of the season:
Brown added a slick wraparound in the middle of the third period that essentially sealed the game, and Tyler Toffoli really sealed the game with an empty-netter at the end.
Martin Jones, after a 26-save nine-round shootout win in Anaheim on Tuesday for his NHL debut, came back to make 16 saves in his shutout of the Isles.
"There wasn't a ton of work early, but they had some zone time so I was able to get in the game," Jones said.
"It's awesome to see Scrivens and Jones come in and play as well as they have," Brown said. "They've made big saves when we've needed them to. But the other side of that is the other guys stepping up blocking shots."
One question that begs an answer: with all of the offensive weapons how can they be so bad on the power play? The Kings have not scored in the power play in their last 33 chances dating back to November 19, a span of eight games. Brown said it's a work in progress.
"We've been moving guys around and trying to figure out what works," he said. "We've just got to stick with it."
The Kings will hopefully find an answer as they head on a four-game road trip this week that takes them to Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Chicago.