This season, the Kings have an amazing ability to bounce back after giving up a lead – even against their southern California rival Anaheim Ducks. They’re 22-0-0 when leading after 2 periods. To make things exciting/stressful for their fans (not really… the Kings have never tried to give up a lead), the Kings have given up the lead they took into the third period in quite a few of those 21 games. The Kings don’t seem to know what’s different this season or why they refuse to give up in the third period even if they give up the lead they have going into it, but as Kopitar said, “It’s a good thing.” They may not be able to explain their success this season, but who cares? Their fans are happy and like the team they’ve supported, the Kings fans are having fun!
The Kings tied the club record winning streak of 8 games they had in 91-92 & 72-73 last night (most recently February 18 – March 2, 1991). Jon Quick extended his career high winning streak and broke the longest winning streak in Kings goal tending history (which he’d tied Tuesday). Anze Kopitar tied his career high points in a game (4) and Jack Johnson beat his career high points in a game (also with 4).
Did the Kings win the way they would have preferred? No. But they won. They didn’t give up when the Ducks tied the game after the Kings had a 4-1 lead. Kings fans were on the edge of their seats and certainly concerned once the Ducks made the game 4-3, but the Kings didn’t give up and let the Ducks win (or even get away with a point by getting into overtime). Though no one can explain the difference, it’s clear that the Kings are a different team now than they were last year at this time. Last season, they might have gotten a point in last night’s game or perhaps two by winning in a shootout. This season, the Kings don’t settle for just one point. They want to win. Winning games may be their job, as coach Terry Murray pointed out when asked about the winning streak, but this year the Kings (now in 4th place in the western conference – tied with Phoenix in points, but with more wins) expect to win. Winning streaks are great, but they just care about making sure they’re playing in mid-April this year for the first time in seven years.