The Kings definitely don’t feel lucky right now, but given the circumstances of tonight’s game, I think they’re lucky to get a point for the overtime loss to the Wild. Quick (who could have easily been given credit for assisting the two regulation goals by the Minnesota Wild) made a couple bad mistakes that cost the Kings easy goals. The referees made a lot of bad calls (the first goal the Kings scored being disallowed, interference being called later when the player was no where near the goalie, high sticking calls missed, etc.) tonight in LA. They made bad calls both ways, but it seemed the key bad calls went against the home team. Add that to the play by Quick, which would have caused many people to pull him from the game (or at least seriously consider it) and the Kings’ horrible power play and the Kings fans should be relieved that their team got something out of the last home game their team plays until December 23rd.
On the bright side, the Kings got seven out of eight possible points so far in December. The down side is that the Kings head on a road trip starting in Detroit on Monday now. They’re hoping to bounce back from this overtime loss, be glad that they got a point, and move on to playing hard against Detroit.
Though Terry Murray admitted that the Kings’ power play and penalty killing didn’t do the job for his team tonight, he was fast to point out “those are not fluke plays… those are giveaways. That’s a puck on your stick, that’s concentration, that’s making the right play – the right decision with the puck” when asked about the regulation goals against Quick tonight. In spite of this, Murray answered with a very quick “No” when asked if he thought of pulling Quick. Clearly, he made a good decision there, since Quick buckled down after that and didn’t allow another goal until the Wild had a 4 on 3 power play in overtime.
This is the Kings’ first overtime loss this season. They won one game in overtime (against Detroit at home earlier this month) and three in shootouts (all on the road). Now that the Kings have lost in overtime, only one team remains who hasn’t lost once they get past regulation – the Florida Panthers.
It’s early to think of standings, but the Kings are still in good shape there, in spite of being how it looks at first glance (with the Kings in 10th). Though the Kings are 2 spots out of the playoff standings, They’re only one point behind the Coyotes, Predators, Avalanche, Sharks, & Ducks in 5-9 places and have 2-5 games in hand on those teams. Just one win in those extra games puts the Kings right in the playoff mix. The Pacific division is only separated by 3 points and has teams in 2, 5, 8, 9, & 10 right now. It’s clearly going to be a hard fought division title this season.
In other news, most Kings fans know about the deal the Kings made for Marco Sturm earlier today. Dean Lombardi was very clear about the deal being dependent on the physical, which is typical. In this case, Sturm’s physical on Monday will definitely focus on his knees a bit more than usual. The Kings have been burned before with injured players, though they seem to be doing something right in that area the last few years (*knock on wood*). Will Sturm be the piece the Kings are missing? Time will tell. Lombardi pointed out that the deal for Sturm leaves him room to possibly make a deal before the trade deadline if he thinks that’s necessary. It’s clear that he’ll be doing his best to make sure the Kings get far in the playoffs this season. Getting kicked out in the first round after six games is not going to be acceptable this season.