Kings Put Together a Winning Streak
After a resounding 4-0 victory on the road against the San Jose Sharks on Dec. 27, the Kings started their downward spiral that seemingly had no end. In the 13 games since the defensive lapses in key moments plagued the Kings as they gave up 44 goals in that span.
Even when they won decisively against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 8 and the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 15 seemingly on the rebound, their inconsistency reared its ugly head helping fuel their descent. That's why when they beat Ilya Bryzgalov and the Phoenix Coyotes on the road Saturday night in yet another shaky outing, optimism wasn't at its highest.
However after tonight, though I'm hesitant to say it, things might have turned around.
“That game in Phoenix as sloppy as it was at times just getting that win puts a lot of guys at ease, let's the guys relax a little bit,” defenseman Matt Greene said.
And against goalie Tim Thomas who owns the best goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts in the NHL, the Kings decided to put in a full 60 minutes to gain the 2-0 shutout win against the Boston Bruins.
“There was a lot of compete, a lot of skating,” head coach Terry Murray said. “And that's against a very good hockey club. In fact the best team in the NHL in the third period.”
From the perch of the press box at the top a sold out STAPLES Center crowd, it really looked like the Kings started to simplify things.
“We wanted to make them turn and get the puck and get in on the offense,” Ryan Smyth said. “Just doing the little things right, capitalizing on special teams.”
And that power-play was just downright deplorable going 0-for-22 since Jan. 10. But it emerged from the dead on the Kings first opportunity with the man-advantage after Zdeno Chara was called for the hooking penalty at 10:16 in the first period. Ryan Smyth in his trusty spot in front of the crease took the adage, “If at first you don't succeed try and try again,” to heart. After being stopped on his first attempt at stuffing the puck in the net by goalie Tim Thomas, Smyth calmly tried it again this time succeeding at 10:50.
“That's a good time,” Greene said. “Everybody loves those goals.”
Alexei Loktionov, recently called up from Manchester once Marco Sturm was put on the injured reserved, took advantage of Thomas biting to the right of the crease taking a Dustin Brown pass past the vacated spot at 3:30 in the third period to give the Kings the 2-0 advantage.
“Loktionov is a very intelligent player,” Murray commented. “That's why he's there to play with [Anze] Kopitar and hopefully generate some offense.”
With one more game until the All Star Break this weekend and their brutal 10-game road trip that won't see them come back home until Feb. 24, every win matters. The Kings will try for a third consecutive win Wednesday night against the Sharks.
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Anaheim Ducks at Columbus Blue Jackets. 4:00 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.