Very important for the Kings to come out and take care of a struggling St. Louis team, especially after a lackluster homestand that has included two losses. Tonight's game was a little like a boxing match between two fighters, one a fair amount better than the other. For the first couple of rounds, the two exchanged some jabs, and the underdog landed a couple of punches, even outfought the favorite for stretches. But as the bout wore on, the favorite wore down the dog, andn landed a couple of knockout blows.
If the Kings are going to have a successful season, then the big guns are going to have to come through. And as much as people might want to believe that means Robitaille and Roenick, it doesn't. It means Demitra, and it mean Frolov. Tonight, the big guns fired, with each getting two goals. For the second straight night, the Kings have batted pucks into the net from mid-air, tonight's coming from Frolov who knocked home the rebound of a Dustin Brown deflection of a Mike Cammalleri shot from the blue line. The Kings are playing, to borrow a phrase from basketball, above the ice. Frolov's other goal came on a nifty bit of stick work as he pulled the puck from behind the goal line and banged it home in one motion.
The power play was fairly uninspiring for most of the night, but it did produce two goals in 8 opportunities, so I shouldn't complain. LaBarbera settled down after giving up a goal on the first shot he faced. Perhaps the best goal of the night came from one of the little guns. After Craig Conroy had come out of the penalty box in the second period, the Kings worked a 3 on 2 that ended with Conroy making a quick little move to get the puck to Eric Belanger camped out on the right post. Belanger very calmly lifted the puck over Reinhart Divos, who was sprawled at that post and couldn't cover the top corner. Although the Kings were forced to run a little ragged at time, they eventually got the game under control and made Belanger's goal stand up.
Through 12 games, the Kings are 8-4, and they're playing like a top team, if not an elite team. There are still a lot of new parts that they're working in, which is true across the league. I predict that there will be a few teams that will be a lot better when those parts gel than they are now. I think the Kings can be one of those team, especially back on the blue line. If the top guys on offense are going to bring it the way they did tonight, it's going to make it easier for those defensemen.