For the first time since Jason LaBarbera won four games more than a year ago (October 19 – 27, 2007), Erik Ersberg has led the Kings to a 4 game winning streak and hasn’t lost a game in regulation out of the 5 games he started. (Ersberg is 4-0-1 in his five starts with the Kings this season.) Terry Murray has been very clear about Jason LaBarbera being the Kings’ number one goalie, but one has to wonder how much longer that will last. LaBarbera started the first ten games for the Kings, but hasn’t played since then. It’s a bit sad to watch this happen, since Jason is a great guy who didn’t get the chance he deserved years ago when he was hot and was benched half the time so Garon could play. I know fans that would skip games if they found out Garon was going to be in goal, since they expected a loss and only attended the LaBarbera games, but he wasn’t given a chance to prove what he was capable of accomplishing. While I wish Jason had gotten the chance he deserved a few years ago, it’s impossible to go back in time and make that up to him. I’m very happy that Ersberg is being allowed to prove what he can do in the NHL. Ersberg had a save percentage of 92.3% tonight, stopping 24 shots.
The Kings have gotten a point in each of their last 5 games and have been continuing to outshoot their opponents as they have most of the season. After the first game of the season, where the Kings were outshot 41-13 in San Jose against the Sharks, they’ve only been outshot by 3 teams and two of those were games the Kings won and only got outshot by a few goals.
Clearly, defense has been a priority for Terry Murray since the moment he was named the head coach of the Kings. It may have taken the Kings a while to get adjusted to the new system, but they seem to be doing a good job with the system now. The Kings have been enjoyable to watch almost every game this season. They’re young and play with energy the Kings fans haven’t seen in their team this consistently in years. Hockey is exciting at Staples Center and in spite of the economy; I hope more fans will come out to see the Kings play. Staples Center has been pretty empty, in spite of the attendance figures. Though it seems FSN will no longer be using their “rinkside view” the way they did in the first games of the season shown using this gimmick, it’s still better to see hockey in person. Apparently, in spite of what he originally said, Tom Feuer does want the hockey fans to watch. Hopefully, the fans will be happy with the changes. The next telecast to feature FSN West/Prime Ticket’s “rinkside view” takes place this Sunday night at 5 p.m. when the Kings play the Ducks at Honda Center. It’s also available in HD, so check it out to see the improvements. I’ll be at the game, so I’ll probably only watch portions of it when I get home, but I hope to see a better presentation and hear more positive feedback from everyone who watches the game.