Strong Start Proves Futile as Kings Fall in Shootout, 2-1
Justin Williams handles the puck along the boards, in what probably led to one of his five shots on goal. (photo courtesy of NHL.com)
For the way the way tonight’s contest between the Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche ended, one might think neither team had a clear advantage at any point in the game. However, the Kings did—outshooting the opposition twelve to five, notching one goal and watching another get disallowed all in the first period. The Kings also spent over eight minutes on the power play before Colorado even had a crack at their own man-advantage. So what happened?
Well, missed opportunities and that disallowed goal dominated the first few minutes of this game more than anything else. Less than thirty seconds after the puck dropped, the Kings were gift-wrapped a four minute power play thanks to a high sticking double minor. Mike Richards quickly nullified that however with an interference penalty of his own. The Kings then had to endure an uneventful 4-on-4 before resuming their struggling power play.
With forty-five seconds left on the advantage, Justin Williams lifted his stick waist-high in order to deflect a Drew Doughty shot into the Colorado net. He raised his right arm in celebration but quickly realized that the goal was in dispute. It was not signaled a goal on the ice and a quick call to the Toronto war room confirmed the referees’ original call—no goal. Williams believed the opposite to be true and even admitted as much when asked by the FOX Sports West crew several moments later. It is however what it is and needless to say, they failed to generate any other chances with what remained of the power play.
Dustin Brown scored a goal early into the second period which was deemed legal to give the Kings a 1-0 lead. By that point, Jonathan Quick had barely seen any action at his end of the ice. It appeared as though all they would have to do is play a little more conservatively with the lead and perhaps add an insurance goal or two down the road. But that plan failed.
Colorado’s Ryan O’ Reilly recorded his tenth of the season with six minutes left to go in regulation to tie the game at one. Quick’s bid for yet another shutout on the season was ruined and the home team was suddenly playing on their heels.
The Kings were given another opportunity, this time to end the game, with a power play in overtime. Former King Kyle Quincey took a high sticking penalty with 1:35 to go in the extra frame, but yet again, no dice. The unsuccessful man-advantage led to the Kings’ demise in the shootout, where it’s noting that Colorado had previously won their last nine shootouts, and seventeen of their last eighteen. Tonight’s W made it ten in a row, although they can’t be too pleased with the fact that they rely so heavily on a skills competition for the majority of their points. (I, however, cannot speak for the Avalanche and this is clearly a different topic for a different time)
Jarret Stoll, Anze Kopitar, and Brown were all denied in their shootout attempts. Colorado captain Milan Hejduk recorded the only successful goal, but it was all they needed to secure the two points.
Williams was the arguably the best player on the ice tonight, which includes the twenty players who suited up for the Colorado Avalanche as well. In addition to the “goal-that-maybe-should-have-counted,” he amassed five shots in sixteen and a half minutes of ice time. This is certainly a welcome sign for the Kings, who will accept any and all offensive production from those who supply it; especially considering they never seem to get that spark from the likes of Kopitar, Mike Richards, Dustin Penner, etc., when they really need it.
But for what it is worth, the Kings still have yet to lose in regulation under Darryl Sutter. His team has earned at least one point in his seven games behind the bench. I suppose that fact alone is enough for one heck of a silver lining.