The Kings Win!
The season wasn’t supposed to go like this. After winning five of their first seven games, the Kings have stumbled losing six of their next seven. That was not supposed to happen with their much-heralded offseason acquisitions of Mike Richards and Simon Gagne for the offense.
Dustin Brown summed it up after their loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday: “We have to play a lot better offensively.”
After another disappointing loss Monday night in San Jose, something must have snapped. Maybe the team sensed the chatter going on Twitter already thinking of replacements for head coach Terry Murray after the 4-2 loss. But they certainly bounced back against the Nashville Predators in an offensive 4-3 explosion at a STAPLES Center of 17,973 Tuesday night - the first non-sellout of the season.
“It was an important win for us,” Drew Doughty said. “We really had to come out of that losing skid. We weren’t happy with the way we were playing throughout that time and to finally get the win tonight was huge.”
And that’s what the 145 people missed. In the process three Kings who desperately needed to figure into the scoring ledger did so against the Predators. Both Alec Martinez and Doughty scored their first goals of the season to give the Kings the quick 2-0 in the first period, and Dustin Penner made the crucial assists in the Kings’ third and fourth goals in the second period to give the Kings the 4-2 margin - his second and third assists respectively for the season.
“Whatever I was in, I’m glad I’m out of it now,” Penner said. The only other assist Penner recorded was on Oct. 18 against the St. Louis Blues.
Penner admitted that a leg injury suffered in a fight with the Philadelphia Flyers’ Zac Rinaldo on Oct. 15 might have gotten to his head.
“There were a few injuries that didn’t help me and maybe got inside my head,” Penner explained. “It’s not so much physical since I put the work in the summer. I think it’s just mental.”
Whatever it is, things seem to be clicking for Penner. He no longer looks lost, and the two assists he recorded his best output since becoming a King.
“I liked his last couple of games,” Murray said. “He’s been bringing good work and trying to get some scoring in his game.”
Penner made no excuses for his lack of productivity in the silver and black.
“There hasn’t been too much to write about, and that’s been my fault.”
But overall the Kings looked energized on the ice tonight.
“We were getting more pucks to the net,” Jarret Stoll said about the difference in this game. His assist on the Kings’ first goal gave him his 300th point in his NHL career. “You saw more energy in the offensive zone from us tonight, something that we lacked for a little bit lately.”
It helped that Nashville showed some of that famous Southern hospitality taking on seven penalties for six Kings’ power-plays.
“They’re not a high scoring five-on-five team,” Nashville head coach Barry Trotz said. “We had to stay out of the box. We didn’t.”
The Kings regroup and face off against the surprisingly mediocre Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.
LA Clippers at Chicago Bulls. Cancelled.
Nashville Predators at Anaheim Ducks. 7:00 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 830 KLAA.
LA Clippers at Toronto Raptors. 4:00 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 980 KFWB. San Antonio Spurs at LA Lakers. 7:30 p.m. FSWest, ESPN, AM 710 KSPN.