Pretty ugly game, really. Too many penalties in the first two periods, and too many penalties on what were really non-penalties. But the worst game the Kings win is better than the best game the Kings lose, and this was far from their worst game.
LaBarbera continues to impress, and I think it's fairly clear at this point that the number one job is his. Garon will continue to play fairly often. I don't think it will be a typical 1-2 setup, but expect LaBarbera to get the bulk of the action until Garon takes it from him, or LaBarbera gives it up. He wasn't giving up much tonight, only getting beat on a breakaway and a freak deflection while the game was still doubt. His 1.70 GAA coming into the game led the league. Looks like a pretty good signing so far.
The offense got rolling on the power play tonight, getting two goals officially, and a third that went in just as time expired on another. Avery showed that he's not all penalty minutes and lightweight fights (something we've known for a while) by burying a pass from Frolov after Johan Hedberg and Phillipe Boucher got tangled up. Norstrom almost got his first goal of the year, but according to the box score, it went to Jeff Cowan, who honestly deserved it after throwing the hit in front of the net that got the play rolling. Demitra capped the scoring for the Kings in the third, as the CAP line continued to stay hot.
But the hero of the night was Lubomir Visnovsky, who recorded his first hat trick. The first one came on a 5 on 3, with Lubo pulling the trigger from the high slot. Hedberg got a piece, but it wasn't enough. His second goal came about 90 seconds later, as Pavol Demitra walked in from the right point before sliding the puck cross ice to Lubo, who settled it down before banging it home from a sharp angle. His third also came on the power play, this time cleanly burying a slap shot from just inside the right circle. Lubo's 18 points on 6 goals and 12 assists leads the Kings, and leads all NHL defensemen. In the new NHL, defensemen seem to be a bit vulnerable, but nimble skaters can still avoid a fair amount of punishment. Lubo needs to stay nimble and stay healthy for the Kings to be successful this season.
Don't look now, LGKers, but Joe Corvo is a +7. Yes, some of that is because he's been paired with Lubo, but most of that is because he's played very, very well this season.