Back at the .500 mark and oh what a feeling! For you fans of other NHL teams reading this you have to understand that after years of being perpetually kicked in the nuts by this franchise us Kings fans have to take pride in the little things and get our kicks where we can.
I cant say any better then Dustin Brown did at the post game interview that when the Kings play with energy and stick to their game plan they can beat anyone. To play the Devils Advocate though I cant only help think what might have been had the Caps not played the not before and had a full squad. Ovechkin is a monster. And while I thought his hit on Brown was cheap I guess the gods of hockey Karma prevailed. At this point as well I don't think we need to be talking about Brown's ability to take a hit as he was absolutely leveled. Wish I could post a clip...I'll try and get one later.
Yet another game the Kings held their opponent to under 24 shots. With Ersberg in net and provided we get consistent scoring there is no reason that if that stat holds the Kings could be in the playoff hunt. On that same Ersberg related note- 1.96GAA and .909SV%.
Doughty-The great players tend to make things look easy and seem to get breaks other players dont. His shot and his play overall is a great example of this. If it were Denis Gauthier taking the same exact shot the puck would have hit Ovechkins stick, landed perfectly flat on Ovechkins blade and allowed him to move up ice ending up in an outnumbered attack. But with Doughty-hits Ovechkin's stick and changed trajectory just enough to miss the Goalies Glove hand by an inch or so. Doughty finished the game at +2 and is now a +8 on the season and on pace for a 13 goal 31 point season.
The Ray Bourque comparisons continue to scream. The +8 is amazing as well in that it's not like Doughty is being spotted situational ice time or getting cherry picked spots. When your 18 year old Rookie can stop Ovechkin on a one on one speaks volumes. Granted he got beat by Ovechkin once as well but at the same time did force Ovechkin to a bad angle. Cant say enough about this kid. He's a future Superstar.
Zeiler- Call me crazy but I thought that line played very well. Zeiler does exactly what you want your 4th line winger to do-he brings tons on energy and tried to finish consistently. I noticed as well that his ability to cycle the puck game Ivanans a couple of chances to throw his weight around as well.
Boyle-While I think Boyle is being misused on this line getting him in the lineup and finding a role to contribute day to day isn't the worst thing that could happen. He has quietly created a couple of scoring chances for himself the last couple of games as well.
Simmonds- I like the kid but I cant help but think Armstrong's veteran Savvy would be better served in Simmonds role and getting quality ice time in Manchester will be a great thing for Simmonds development in the long run. Remember Manny Malholtra? He probably could have been a much higher caliber NHL player had he been able to cut his teeth at the AHL level as opposed to being thrown to the wolves.
Brad Richardson- I don't know what is going on behind the scenes but when Zeiler gets bumped in front of the line ahead of you is never a good thing. I'd like to see Richardson get a chance but for whatever reason it aint happening. Maybe he doesn't bust his ass in practice? Maybe he's an ahole? I do not know but once again he has managed to lose his spot to Moller(no shame in that), Simmonds(moderate shame), and Zeiler(great profound shame in that). Reminds me a bit of Pavel Rosa years ago who scored in almost every NHL game he played in but was a routine scratch. When 3 coaches all say the same thing about work ethic what else can you think but there must be an issue with work ethic?
Finally, was it me or did the broadcast almost seem like a Washington Caps telecast? They certainly went out of their way to feature a lot more Caps related stories then when other teams. It was cool to see and I am not complaining just something I found a bit unusual. On a similar note-getting inter conference play again is refreshing. I wasn't at the game but watching on TV seemed like there was a bit of a different vibe. And not that I am picking on Bettmann but who decided that fans wanted to see more conference and divisional games? I am glad they went back to what worked but think this could have been a game that we would have been playing the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Games of the Night
Looks like it could be a slow night so truth be told I will probably be watching Kung Fu Panda with my 5 year old and Tropic Thunder once he goes to bed. A couple of matches with some promise though.
Philadelphia Flyers at Buffalo Sabres- 26 combined FMs. Looks like Flyers Heavy Riley Cote is injured so that really minimizes odds for a scrap.
Anaheim Ducks at St. Louis Blues -For Rough and Tumble hockey the Ducks are always a must watch. Cam Janssen is always willing to go as well so this probably will be the best bet for the night.