Last night, the Anaheim Ducks gave up the 3-0 lead they had at the end of the 2nd to lose 4-3 in OT to the Minnesota Wild (in Minnesota). The Kings had a 4-0 lead against the Sharks until more than half-way through the game. With 4 minutes left in the 2nd period, the Sharks scored on their first power play of the game. One power play later, the Sharks were down only 4-2. A minute into the third period, the Kings were only up by one goal, since the Sharks had scored their 3rd power play goal of the night. Though I’m sure not taking penalties was emphasized on the Kings bench, the Sharks got their fourth power play goal at 14:24 in the 3rd period. In just under a full period, the Kings had gone from being up 4-0 to being tied at 4.
Needless to say, many were thinking that the Kings were going to crash and burn as the Ducks had in Minnesota earlier that night. The guy next to me in the press box even said something like, “I’m going to the Sharks’ locker room tonight.” Of course, before I even had a chance to respond with a comment about how he shouldn’t assume the Kings were going to lose, the Kings scored a goal. Just 26 seconds after the game tying goal, the Kings had regained the lead with Teddy Purcell’s first goal of the season. That allowed me to tell him to have fun, since the happy guys were going to be down the hall in the Kings’ locker room. Davis Drewiske got his first NHL goal into the empty net with less than two minutes to go in the game and sealed the fate of the Sharks.
Last year, I think the game would have ended with a deflated Kings team and my buddy next to me in the press box heading to talk to the Sharks. Once the Sharks tied the game, the Kings of last year would have probably thought the game was over, which would have been a self-fulfilling prophecy. The fans would have gone home upset that their team had started 0-2 again and would have started to question (even though it’s early) all those predictions about the Kings making it back into the playoffs this year.
It is early in the season and it’s definitely too early to say that this game is a good sign for the Kings in continuing to stay in the game (the way they did with their two goal lead early in the 2nd period and when the Sharks had tied the game), just as it was too early to throw in the towel after the Kings’ first game. However, I think the Kings fans should be pretty happy with their team right now. The Kings definitely need to work on their penalty kill – no question. Since the Kings had one of the best penalty kills in the league last year and have most of the same guys, I’m not concerned about their ability to improve their pk. The players know they’re capable of doing better on the penalty kill and aren’t concerned, which is also a positive sign for the fans.
If you had told anyone last year that the three California teams would start out with 1-2-0, 0-1-1 & 1-1-0 records, I doubt anyone would have picked the Kings as one of the teams with a win. I’m sure everyone would have chosen the Kings to start out with the worst record. Though it’s early, the Kings were blasting music in the locker room last night and happy that they refused to give up and fought back to beat the Sharks.
In other good news, Kings fans who could not make it to Staples Center last night were able to watch the game in HD! All games on FSN West and Prime Ticket will be broadcast in HD, which is a huge step up from last year’s 10 games.
Also, for those Kings fans who worried that Rob Scuderi had won the Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh and might not play as hard for a the Kings in LA… I think Rob proved himself to be the tough guy he’s always been last night. Scuderi took a puck to the nose (it’s not broken, just caused gushing blood) and only missed a shift as they got him cleaned up and made sure that he wouldn’t bleed all over as he went out to play the rest of the game. If Scuderi will do that this early in the season for the Kings, I don’t think there’s any question about how hard he’s going to play in LA. He’s clearly here to win games, which makes sense. Anyone who’s been on a team (of any level) that wins a championship knows how great it feels to win. Why would anyone choose to move to a team they didn’t think had a bright future? Scuderi’s not the party boy Jeremy Roenick was when he was in Los Angeles. Rob’s here to help the Kings make it into the playoffs and I think he can do that.