Game Preview: Hello, Mr. President
Remember when the LA Kings were winners? Yesterday, President Obama did.
"In the conference final they beat my Blackhawks, which is unfortunate." pic.twitter.com/joWgLvGiAr
— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) February 2, 2015
I think the Kings beating the Chicago Blackhawks was one of the best parts about the entire 2014 Stanley Cup run. Let’s agree to disagree, Mr. President.
More importantly, I’m hoping that taking time to bask in being champions several months ago helps boost the Kings mentally or something. It’s hard to pinpoint what might be keeping this team from winning games. Nothing about their losses right now seems to be consistent. The misfortune varies from game to game, but the bottom line is this team is awful at closing games lately. They were once winners — very recently even! — and now they’re four points out of a wild card playoff spot. They really need to put together a win streak, their road record is 28th in the league, and their next handful of games are all away games.
Sounds like a recipe for success!
KINGS @ CAPITALS
Tuesday, February 3rd
The good news is that the hell hole that was January is now over. The bad news is that their first test in February comes against the Washington Capitals, and Alex Ovechkin is running really hot. He’s finally passed up a bunch of leading scoring hopefuls and currently sits atop the league with 31 goals. (He’s technically tied with Rick Nash now, but Ovechkin reached that number one spot first.)
It doesn’t help that Ovechkin remains a notorious power play threat and the Kings’ penalty kill insists on staying a liability. They enter the game at a puny 77.8% when shorthanded. Meanwhile, the Capitals’ are clicking at 23.5% on the power play, third best in the NHL.
It’s a good thing that the Kings have been better about not taking penalties.
#LAKings are taking fewer penalties. 4+ PKs in a game 17 times in their first 28 games; only 4 times in their last 21.
— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) February 3, 2015
The last time these two teams played, the Kings did Evgeny Kusnetsov the honor of allowing him his first NHL goal.
What’s most surprising about that game is that the Kings won it in a shootout. A shootout! Imagine if the Kings participated in a shootout and players actually scored, let allow scoring enough to earn a win. Up is down, left is right, cat and dogs living together in harmony.
Though the Kings like to pretend they take it all one game at a time and keep even heads, flashes of frustration show through. Recently, Drew Doughty even said he might welcome 3-on-3 in overtime just to try something different.
From USA Today:
Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, one of the NHL leaders in average ice time, said he had played in a three-on-three situation because of penalties that extended into overtime of a Jan. 19 game against the Calgary Flames. He found it taxing.
“It was tiring, really tiring,” Doughty said. “You’d come back on defense and make a play and then it is continuous three-on-two, three-on-two. It’s tiring, but I think it would make overtimes finish quicker. With the way our team has been in the shootout (1-7), I think I could go with three-on-three.”
If the Kings want to have a chance at getting two points in this one, they probably need to stay out of the box and score more even strength goals in regulation time. Goaltender Jonathan Quick also needs to have another game where his save percentage stays above .900.
— Capitals Hill (@CapitalsHill) February 3, 2015
Coach Sutter has reunited Gaborik, Kopitar, and Brown on the first line, likely hoping to balance physicality with firepower. Top six guys have failed to produce much on the road up to now, but hopefully that weird split starts to even out tonight.
Hopefully. Please. This is about to be game 50, guys.