This is why people stop watching hockey. This was probably the ugliest game I've seen all season, and I lay the blame for that at the skates of Mick "Mr." McGeough and Brad Meier. This game featured 20 power plays, 10 per team, and many not of the obstruction variety. The Coup de Gras was the penalty on Tom Kostopolous with a minute and a half to go. He essentially was penalized for checking. That was called maybe half the time when I used to play in the CSHA, and it was legitimately a penalty in that league. But this is the NHL, and apparently as far as McGeough and Meier are concerned, physical contact is a no-no. And as the title says, the outcome was completely predictable. I doubt I'm the only Kings fan that felt like the game was over right there. I just knew the Flames were going to score.
The Kings, for the second time in their three losses, blew a lead which should have been enough, this time surrendering a 2-0 lead after the first period. Then the game slowed down under constant whistles. The Kings did absolutely nothing in the second period, not registering their first shot until three quarters of the way through. Calgary fought back and tied the games on goals by Chris Simon, left wide open in the slot, and Dion Phaneuf, whose centering pass went off the skate of Tim Gleason. The Kings appeared to take the lead in the third on a power play goal by Demitra, but it was disallowed when McGeough noticed Derek Armstrong in the crease. Apparently, he hadn't noticed that he had been checked into the crease.
As ugly as this game was, and as poor as the officiating was, the Kings have no excuse for losing this game. They were playing at home against one of the worst power play and penalty killing teams in the league, if not the worst combined, and they gave up 2 power play goals, while only scoring one in ten opportunities. If you're going to be successful in the "new" NHL, you have to be good on the special teams. So far the Kings have won despite average special teams play, but that won't continue. They need to get their act together in those situations, or this good start will have faded by into mediocrity before Thanksgiving.
Two big points up for grabs on Tuesday night against the sucks. Let's hope they can put this one behind them and come out a littler sharper. Let's hope LaBarbera can stay perfect.