Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kings Outclassed in Goal-Fall 4-2 to Rags

Watched most of tonights game sans the stretch of the 1st period that wasnt shown due to technical difficulties. Here are some thoughts and some breakdown/recaps of the goals and assorted player thoughts.

Rangers 1st goal-just a good solid deflection. A great low shot perfectly deflected. Cant really blame anyone here but perhaps OD could have taken the shooter out of the play or tied his stick up or something. Still small potatoes in the big picture. There are the types of goals scored at the NHL level and barring the goalie making a spectacular save there isnt much you can do about it. Ironically the Kings 1st goal wasn't too all different then the Rangers in a top notch deflection by a skilled forward. I thought Drewiske played very well in the 1st Period.

Rangers 2nd goal was pure unadulterated slop. Ersberg was off all night and this really was the harbinger of things to come. HUG THE POST! After all it's only one of the goalies fundamental plays in those situations. Some could probably quibble about the legality of the review but to me it was a good goal and had it been waived off would have been a huge break for the Kings; that in the end they would have needed but in this case didnt deserve as it looked very much like a good goal to me. Boyle's goal was yet another that should have been stopped. You can of new he was going to score though and if I'm not mistaken that goal turned out to be the game winner. Ironically, Boyle took a lazy hooking penalty that we saw a lot in his couple of cups of coffee with the team and I couldn't but think how humorous it could be had Torterella sent Boyle to the AHL for that play in spite of his GWG.

Jack Johnson showed some amazing skill for the Kings 2nd and final goal of the game. You could see his skating and puck handling skills as he straddled the blue line before launching the shot, but what really showed some NHL moxie was the replay clearly shows before he takes the shot he looks over to a teammate to give the opposing teams players the idea that he is going to pass or at least thinking about. When they talk about player intangibles-well there is one heck of an example. Goal went to Handzus, who was really in the right place right time more then anything else, and I will get into that a bit later.

The Rangers final goal really was the back breaker. Gaborik fires off a nice shot but is from a horrible shooting angle that Ersberg should have had all the way. The Rangers final 3 goals were all pretty much stoppable IMO, and if one had to summarize the game it pretty much came down to skilled Lundqvist outplaying his lee talented Swedish counterpart in Ersberg, and the shot totals back that assertion.

Some player and general thoughts.

Apart from Ivanans bad penalty in the 1st, the 4th line played very well. When your 4th line can keep the play in the opposing teams end for a prolonged period of time regularly-you have to figure the Coach was pretty happy with the effort. Richardson and Harrold both played well and for their roles-did an outstanding job. Shout out to Terry Murray who put Simmonds on this line late in the 3rd to generate more offense.

Ersberg-just looked sloppy and out of control for the whole game. I felt more secure with Jack Johnson defending the empty net then anytime with Ersberg in goal. Granted we may cut a bit of slack being his first game and all but a couple of more performances like this means the Kings should prepare to get Zatkoff or Bernier a try; or if they the Monarchs Tandem to get extra time trade for an established NHL backup.

Handzus- he got lucky with his right place right time goal but all in all he looked very sluggish to me the whole game. There was no jump in his step at all and he looked very timid in his decision making. Not blaming the loss on him by any stretch-but he certainly wasnt one of the more noticable Kings forwards in spite of the fact he scored.

Jack Johnson-Fantastic game. So far this season I think one could argue that he has outplayed Doughty. He was pretty much everywhere and played pretty solidly IMO sans a couple of miscues on the PP. See Next Item.

OD- he was the defensive equivalent of Handzus tonight. He looked like he was having a hard time picking up the puck and wasn't really on his game in terms of puck awareness. One can argue that's not really his game but he along with some others just looked like they couldn't find or anticipate the puck or the play very well.

Simmonds- He has got to step it up a bit. There are players like Scuderi when you dont notice them, figure they are doing their job-but Simmonds is not afforded that luxury. If he is not scoring, he needs to be hitting, if he is not hitting he needs to be driving the net-games in which we don't notice Simmonds does not reflect well on players in his role. Frolov made a very strong power move to the goal in the 1st-and while he didn't score and sadly didn't do it the rest of the game this is something I think Simmonds needs to do more of.

Dustin Brown-Played very well. Looks like he is stepping his game up and was much more noticeable then previous games. There was a shift in the first were he threw 3 hits and then made a beeline to the Rangers goalmouth to set the screen. It didn't payoff but you could see the Rangers dmen were having a hard time keeping Brown out of the play. For a guy who ended the game with no points, to me it looked like Brown and his team leading 5 shots on goal was the hungriest forward tonight.

Kings PP looked out of sync to me and all in all the team passed up many opportunities to get shots on goal from the prime scoring areas and decided to pass it off or make the one extra ill advised move that stopped the momentum. Not saying they are horrible-just maybe not the best shot selection or hunger around the net. Will say on the PPs defense that there was a horrible non call on a blatant interference against Smyth. Blatant penalty IMO that would have given the Kings a 5 on 3 with plenty of time. A case of would have, could have, should have without question though and its conjecture anyhow.

Overall in spite of some criticisms, I thought the team for the most part played pretty well out shooting the Rags 36-21 in spite of at least 5 more chances passed up in the prime scoring areas. Really came down to Lundqvist making the big saves when he had too and using his calming influence to settle down the Rangers players in spite of the fact they only had one shot on goal in the 3rd. With a lesser goalie in net this is a game the Kings would have won, with a better goalie in net for the Kings this is a game the Kings could have won. Rangers got the goaltending, Kings didn't. And on this night the 14th of October-that is exactly how history will remember how this game went down.

I would also be remiss if I didn't mention the 3 Stars of the Week graphic with Heatley, Quick, and Sedin. Surely I wasn't the only who looked at the pics and thought "Wow, 2 hockey players and someones little brother."

Next Up Detroit. If the Kings play like they did tonight as far as applying offensive pressure, getting solid play from all forward lines, and Quick can play as well as he has of late-there is no reason the Kings cant get at least a point out of tomorrows game. Detroit only has 2 wins on the season and Osgood's GAA is over 3.60 so if the effort of tonight's game is there tomorrow I don't think it's unreasonable that the team will score more then 2 goals.

As always look forward to your thoughts and hopefully will have the time to do a recap/opinion piece after tomorrow night's game.

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