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LAst Night's Action: Kings Not Quick in Shootout

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New Jersey Devils defeat LA Kings 2-1 (SO). I don’t know what is more shocking: that Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick lost a game in the shootout or that Devils’ left-winger Ilya Kovalchuk led all players in icetime with 29:37.

Last season the Kings were an NHL-best 10-2 in the shootout with Quick recording all ten victories without a loss. But Kovalchuck’s back-hander and Zach Parise’s back-hander got past Quick while Devils’ backup goaltender Johan Hedberg saved the shots from Simon Gagné and Anze Kopitar to hand Quick his first shootout loss since April 8, 2010 at home against the Phoenix Coyotes.

This betrays the great saves Quick made late in the game to keep the Kings in it especially the point-blank shot by Petr Sykora from the slot after a Kings’ turnover on their blue line.

And yes, Quick needed to be stout between the pipes because the Kings’ offense was off-kilter. They got off to a fast start with nine shots on starting veteran goalie Martin Brodeur. Things looked pretty good for Kings’ fans when Simon Gagné recorded his first goal as a King less than two minutes into the game.

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But a shot apparently hit by Matt Greene midway through the first period hit Brodeur causing him to visibly be shaken up. He went to the bench to see a trainer at the 12-minute mark but remained in the net. From that point on the Devils’ defense flustered the Kings the remainder of the period. The Kings’ would get two more shots on Brodeur in the period, and those came in the final minute of the period.

The Devils’ took the puck from the Kings in their zone and made a charge through the neutral zone with the Kings chasing from behind. Parise’s shot was saved rebounded to Sykora whose shot was also blocked. The rebound went to Patrik Elias who on the charming third try got it past Quick to tie the game.

Hedberg came into the game in the second period, and from there it was a back-and-forth game with neither offense getting much of a foothold.

It’s only the third game in the season, and the Kings have yet to score more than two goals in regulation. In the six goals the Kings have scored this season, Kopitar has gotten a point in five of the six. Like I said, it’s early in the season so there’s no reason to start panicking about Mike Richards. He’ll come around soon enough. Although it would be cool if he showed up big time in his return to Philadelphia on Saturday, no?

USC Trojans defeat California Golden Bears 30-9. Wow. Memorial Stadium has changed. If I didn’t know any better it bears a striking resemblance to AT&T Park, doesn’t it?

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I guess geology has come a long way since if they knew in 1922 what we know now, they probably wouldn’t have built a stadium on top of the Hayward Fault which experiences a creep of 1.2 mm/year. Memorial Stadium is in fact being ripped apart which is why it’s undergoing extensive retrofitting and renovations.

In a metropolitan statistical area that is home to two football teams that plays in two different stadiums, it says a lot that Cal is playing their home games this season in a baseball field rather than Candlestick or the Oakland Coliseum (or whatever their current naming-rights name is at the moment.)

Since they play in a fake field where the endzones hug right against the outfield and infield walls, it follows that they have a fake quarterback. Zach Maynard threw two interceptions while the Cal offense lost two more fumbles in the first half alone. He overthrew receivers, scrambled his team to negative yardage and just look out of his element on the field.

So it’s a good thing they have some semblance of a defense to keep this from being a total laugher. The Trojans only had a 20-0 lead at halftime in a game that felt more like a 49-0.

TONIGHT’S ACTION

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San Jose Sharks at Anaheim Ducks. 7:00 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.