Friday, October 07, 2005

Kings 3; Coyotes 2

Nice win in the home opener for the Kings last night. Both teams were playing back to back games, so I'm not sure this feels as good as winning the second of back to back games normally does, but it's win nonetheless, and after Wednesday's debacle, it was much needed.

Three of the guys who are going to need to produce if the Kings want to be successful got on the scoreboard. Luc got his first of the season with a rocket from the left-wing circle after Parros had cleared some space, firing a perfect shot inside the far post. Frolov got his first of the season on the power play, knocking home the rebound of a Pavol Demitra shot. Finally, Demitra picked up his first of the season on a rare power play rush, flipping home a north-south pass from Frolov.

The defense stepped up and played a solid game. Much to the chagrin of many over at Lets Go Kings, Joe Corvo was the best defenseman on the ice. He made solid passes, got his shots on net, threw his body around, and made a terrific diving poke check to negate a scoring chance when he had been left all alone by his teammates. I think this is going to be a breakout year for Corvo. And while his off-ice issues will never endear him to many in the hardcore fan base, a solid season from Corvo is a must if this team wants to make the playoffs.

The Kings worked a lot harder last night, likely the result of not opening up a four goal lead in the first period. They skated harder, they hit smarter, and they stayed out of the penalty box for the most part. That's going to be a key to this season, as it seems that their PK is just awful so far. In the new NHL, that has to change if they want to make the post-season.

LaBarbera looked solid in nets, stopping 27 shots to pick up the win. I wouldn't be disappointed if they simply didn't name a number one goaltender and instead just rotated the position like in the old Hrudey/Berthiaume days. Then again, if one of them wants to elevate his game and grab that role, that's fine too. Next up are the Wild on Sunday night, who started the season without King killer Marian Gaborik. It didn't bother them Wednesday, as they beat the Flames 6-3. No word on whether he'll be in the lineup Sunday.

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