Fans may have booed the Kings off the ice after the second disappointing period against the Blues on St. Patrick’s Day, but the announced sellout crowd was ready to cheer their Kings on at Staples Center against the Ducks last night.
Many Kings fans had issues with the call against Alexei Ponikarovsky which made the puck going into the net irrelevant and put the Ducks on the power play, though Ponikarovsky had been pushed into Emery by Sbisa. Per the rules in the NHL, the no goal call was correct. The penalty was definitely a bad call, but since the Ducks didn’t score, that’s not a big point. Some may disagree with the way that rule works in the NHL (had Sbisa been on top of Emery, it would have clearly been a goal for the Kings and no penalty on either team), but the rules definitely read that way, so the only call I think was bad there was the penalty on Ponikarovsky for basically being in the wrong place at the wrong time and getting pushed down on top of Emery.
The Kings and Ducks both played hard. Emery (who’s allowed only 2 goals in the 2+ NHL games he’s played this season) looked great for the Ducks and the battle was exciting for fans on both sides. Unfortunately, for everyone else fighting for a spot in the western conference playoffs, the game resulted in three points being handed out, since the Kings got a point for losing in overtime. I’ve never been a fan of getting something for losing. It makes no sense to me. I know it makes this time of year more exciting and that fans of many more teams believe their team has a chance, but I’ll never get used to the idea of giving a team credit for losing a game.
Willie Mitchell said the Kings “played really well tonight” and “exactly how we wanted to play.” He went on to explain that more times than not when they play like that, they’ll win the game. The plan, as always, is to continue to play well even though I saw some fans tweeting about when the Kings go on the road again, since the Kings swept their recent four game road trip and have only scored one goal in their 2 games (including a little bit of overtime play) at home since that trip.
The playoff race is going to be exciting until the very end this season largely because of points obtained in losing situations. Many of the remaining games are four point games to the teams involved, like tonight’s game in Anaheim where the Ducks (currently in 9th place, 1 point behind 8th) host the Calgary Flames (in 10th place tied in points with the Ducks, who have played two fewer games). If Anaheim wins tonight, they could frog to 6th place in the west if Chicago and Nashville both lose their games. If the Blackhawks and Predators both win and the Ducks win, they’d still end up in the 8th and final playoff spot until tomorrow’s games are played. Los Angeles remained in 5th place when losing last night and are three points behind the 4th place Phoenix Coyotes.