Tonight, I was able to attend the Kings/Ducks game in Anaheim as a fan, which was quite a treat. I hadn’t attended a Kings game as a fan since 2006, I think. I got to wear one of my Kings jerseys, sit with my friend in a Ducks jersey, and cheer for the Kings. Fortunately, for me, the Kings gave me a lot to cheer about and the Ducks put up a good fight, making the game exciting and at times nerve wracking. Everything one would want in a game as a fan.
Jonathan Quick played for the Kings in both games against the Ducks even though they were back to back games and he had to win last night’s game in a shootout. Clearly, this was a good decision on Terry Murray’s part, since Quick looked great in net for the Kings. Dan Ellis was in net for the Ducks tonight. I would have played Hiller at home instead, since he generally gives the Ducks a better chance to win, but I’m sure Randy Carlyle had his reasons.
I was surprised that the game was still relatively empty (especially for a SoCal rivalry or “Freeway Series” game). Tonight’s game at the Honda Center in Anaheim had almost everything a fan could want in a game. The Kings scored a short-handed and power play goal (scored by Simon Gagne & Slava Voynov) and the Ducks got a power play goal (scored by Corey Perry). In fact, if you count the empty net goal at the end of the game, the Kings had two short-handed goals. One of the Ducks’ goals was reviewed and the call on the ice of a goal stood. Kyle Clifford and Sheldon Brookbank fought.
Jonathan Quick’s save percentage of .921 stood up with the Kings’ five goals. Star Kings’ player Anze Kopitar scored his 9th goal of the season, Mike Richards had two goals, Gagne had a goal and an assist, … what more could a Kings fan ask for in a game?
There was an odd problem with the lights tonight I can’t remember seeing in a hockey game before. The teams came back out for the third period and had to wait while the Honda Center employees rushed to fix the problem. The teams were waiting so long that they had to let them warm up some more. Practice in the middle of a game is definitely not typical, but the teams needed to stay active. Fans were a little restless, but a problem like that isn’t typical and gives fans something to talk about the next day other than the win or loss.
Perhaps this set of back to back games against the Ducks is exactly what the Kings to kick their season into gear and get them to start playing consistently like the team everyone expected to see this season – the contender.
Though it’s still early in the season and the Kings have played more games than all the teams in their division other than the Ducks, they took over the division lead with tonight’s win, putting them in third place in the western conference. Perhaps this is the beginning of a good streak that will keep the Kings near the top for a while.
Tags: Anze Kopitar, back-to-back games, Corey Perry, Dan Ellis, Ducks, fans, Honda Center, Jonas Hiller, Jonathan Quick, Kings, Kyle Clifford, Mike Richards, NHL, Randy Carlyle, Sheldon Brookbank, Simon Gagne, Slava Voynov, standings, Terry Murray
Clearly, the Los Angeles Kings couldn’t win all 41 home games this season. Kings fans know they have been spoiled in Staples Center so far this year, but I’m sure none of them were ready for that streak to end against the Columbus Blue Jackets (10th place in the west before today’s games). The Kings were bound to lose at home sooner or later, but the Kings hadn’t lost two games in a row yet this season either and didn’t look good in San Jose or against the Blue Jackets.
The fact that the Kings’ penalty kill is still perfect at home or that Justin Williams extended his career high point streak to 11 games is little consolation to the Kings team getting ready to head on the road for four games before Thanksgiving (including back to back games this Friday and Saturday in Buffalo and Boston).
Though he repeatedly said he couldn’t speak for the other guys on the team, Greene said “I can only speak for myself personally. I think it’s just mental lapses right now. I mean, I’ve been on the ice for five goals against in the last two games – that’s not a good stat if you want to win hockey games.” Clearly, the Kings are no happier than their fans that their home winning streak ended, though Anze Kopitar pointed out that obviously “It’s not a good feeling when you lose – doesn’t matter if it’s on the road or at home.” He also mentioned that they have to get back to their winning ways, which all Kings fans are looking forward to as their team heads to Buffalo to face the Sabres on Friday.
Tags: Anze Kopitar, back-to-back games, Blue Jackets, Hockey, Justin Williams, Kings, Matt Greene, NHL, penalty kill, point streak, Sabres, Staples Center, winning streak
I haven’t heard anyone predicting that the Hurricanes win the series with the Bruins yet. I’m sure there are some. Finding people who thought the Ducks were going to beat the Sharks was almost impossible and I talked to members of the media and fans in Anaheim. Since I haven’t been to Carolina in years, I’m sure I could find some people there who truly thought the Hurricanes would win the series against the Bruins before this round of the playoffs started. If most people had been told that the Hurricanes would be up 2-1 in a series with the Bruins, they probably would have believed it about as much as most people would have if you told them the Ducks would have been leading the series with the Sharks 2-0 to start.
Two overtime games in one day again and the Penguins and the Hurricanes were a part of the madness this round, too. Thankfully, my DVR from hell (made by Motorola and supplied by the horrible Orange County Cox Cable company) worked and I got to see both games today (the Devils/Hurricanes game recorded, but the DVR couldn’t play it – so sad!). It’s interesting to me that both times there were two OT games in the playoffs this year on the same day they involved the only two teams who were in both rounds of the playoffs. Incidentally, the team who won the OT game in question won the series and went on to the next round of the playoffs. Wonder if that’ll happen this time, too.
As a Penguins fan, the Penguins game drove me nuts. The Capitals’ late tying goal and all the chances and the way the Pens were skating initially and… I could go on forever about the gut-wrenching experience I know most Penguins fans went through tonight. I think we can all agree that the comeback the Red Sox made against the Yankees a few years ago is too rare to hope for it and that if the Penguins had lost tonight at home it would have been the end of their 2009 playoff run. Fortunately for Pens fans everywhere, Pittsburgh won game 3 and the Penguins are now only behind 2-1 in the series to the Capitals.
Apparently, the Penguins want to play in the first back-to-back games of the 2009 playoffs. Personally, I think back-to-back games should never happen in the playoffs. I realize that arenas have schedules to work around, but think they should figure something out to avoid back-to-back games. On the bright side, of course, both teams have exactly the same recover time. On the down side, this is the playoffs. To me playoff hockey means teams at their best and the Penguins and Capitals will not be at their best when they played the day before. As another point, this is the playoffs – I know, it seems like the same point as my first, but bear with me. Since this is the playoffs, game 4 of the Pens/Caps series in Pittsburgh Friday could last until sometime Saturday morning. I know the players’ contracts have rules about game turnaround time; I’m guessing these restrictions are waived for the playoffs. However, think about how horrible and boring the Pens/Caps game could be on Saturday if the game Friday goes into triple overtime (or longer). Don’t the fans deserve more during the playoffs – especially for a weekend game? I think they do. Too bad Gary Bettman disagrees with me.
Tags: back-to-back games, Bruins, Capitals, Cox Cable, Ducks, DVR, fans, Gary Bettman, Hockey, Hurricanes, Motorola, NHL, overtime, Penguins, playoffs, Red Sox, Sharks, Yankees