Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Kings 3; Sucks 1

Any win over the Mighty Sucks is a satisfying victory. Honestly, maybe it's just becase the third period is fresh in my mind, but I really think 1-5 on the ice, the Kings were outplayed. Fortunately, they're allowed to play a sixth, because LaBarbera was fantastic. I'm on record as being a fan of the goalie rotation, a la Hrudey/Berthiaume back in 1990-1991. But it's becoming clear that LaBarbera is just flat outplaying Garon. Maybe it's because of the extra rest. Maybe it's because he's comfortable playing every other game. But it may be time to go to two for one split.

For the second straight time, the Kings had a goal disallowed, this time on a puck that Belanger knocked out of the air with a high stick. They rebounded to take the lead on the two man advantage with 10 seconds left in the period, Cammelleri banging home a rebound from the slot. They'd add another in the second, with Robitaille deflecting a shot from in front of the net over Bryzakjsahdfkov and into the net. The Ducks couldn't capitalize on a two man advantage in the third, but seemed to gain momentum, dominating much of the period, and eventually pulling within one as Andy McDonald went five hole on LaBarbera. The Kings were able to hold on, however, finally getting a power play near the end of the game . Conroy broke out of the zone, and a nifty move at center created some space and drew a hooking penalty on Sykora. The Kings went into puck possession mode, running down the clock until Conroy banged home the rebound of a Frolov shot to provide the winning margin.

Like a said, a win is a win, and when it's over the Ducks, it's even better. But outside of LaBarbera, I wasn't completely pleased with the way the Kings played tonight. I've harped on it before, but they need to be more effective on special teams if they're going to be successful. Despite the perfect PK tonight, I didn't think they were very good on the kill. LaBarbera was their best penalty killer all night, but they gave up way too many chances. Teams seem to be really playing a high pressure style of penalty kill against the Kings, and it seems to be working. On the flip side, the Kings have time and again gone into a passive box, almost daring their opponents to shoot. It's effective when your goaltender is on his game, but it's risky.

But we'll save those complaints for a night when it costs them. They're now 7-3 after their first ten games, which I think is better than most expected them to be, and it's certainly everything I could have hoped for at this point. Next up are the Sharks on Friday and the Blues on Saturday, then it's off to Dallas and Phoenix for back to back games next week. I'd settle for two wins in those three.


Joe said...

Just got back from the game...left after the 1st inning of the WS game and returned to catch the last inning...crazy!

Even though the power play still stinks, I disagree with you. As a whole, I thought the Kings outplayed the Ducks. LaBarbera stood on his head (again!), but I thought the team looked pretty good, especially even strength. I've always thought Murray's teams play their best when they cycle the puck well and play good defense. They did that tonight!

Seitz said...

Like I said, it might just be because the third period was fresh in my mind when I wrote that, and I think it seemed like Ducks dominated the third from the two man advantage until the penalty on Sykora. But the Kings did outshoot them, and the Kings had the run of play in the first period for sure.

Anonymous said...

RE: Daniel Berthiaume -- some might even argue that Berthiaume was the *better* goaltender that year, but Webby wanted to ride Kelly in the playoffs (which pissed Bert off big time). The games Bert played against Chicago were epic (a 50 save win, and a 45 save win, if I recall correctly), for example. If Kelly hadn't been a veteran with loads of playoff experience, things might have gone another way.

The one knock on Bert (aside from him being a flake) that the other players bitched about was that his puckhandlng skills sucked, whereas Kelly was pretty handy passing the puck on break-outs and so forth (not Stauber skilled, but pretty good).

That said, Garon better step up, because this rotation might not be a rotation if he keeps playing like shit compared to The Barber.

Joe said...

Oh, and here's some timely trivia I heard on the post-game show.

With tonight's win, LaBarbera runs his King's record to 5-0. Who was the last goalie to start their King career 5-0?

One Daniel Berthiaume!