Kings at Blues: Catching the Early Flight Home
The Kings played well for 40 minutes of last night’s game against the St. Louis Blues, but it only took 20 minutes for the Blues to beat them soundly.
During the first period, the teams were about equal. The 5v5 strength shot attempts came out dead even. The Kings had two power play opportunities that they failed to turned into goals, but that was okay. Since they have almost routinely allowed first period goals in their last few games, things seemed somewhat positive. Dare I say optimistic, even.
All that hope paid off in the second. Marian Gaborik took his third period goal versus the Maple Leafs and added two second period goals against the Blues. One even came on the power play again! Imagine that. Both Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar earned assists. I’m serious.
Well, well, well. Look who’s back in business around here.
Vladimir Tarasenko got one back for the Blues, but overall the Kings left the period happy. They’d even gained a nice edge in possession. A team that’s generally awesome in third periods was now entering the final frame with a lead to close it out. Another road game win was so possible. Just imagine! They could finish this frustrating road trip by earning at least five of 10 standings points and come home with the scent of recently winning rolling off their shoulders.
It turned out that they didn’t have it at all.
After killing the Kings’ power play to start the third period, the Blues had a lot of jump. Things turned in their favor even more when Dustin Brown took a high-sticking penalty, and then Robyn Regehr quickly followed it up with a hooking penalty. The Kings apparently felt so confident about the night that they wanted to try their luck being down two players.
Jaden Schwartz burned them on the 5-on-3. Tarasenko scored his second of the night while the Blues still had a 5-on-4 opportunity. Like I mentioned last game, the Kings’ penalty killing had been a total failure on this road trip. Here it was smearing its stink everywhere again, putting them down 3-2.
Not even a minute later, Steen widened the gap. The Kings allowed three goals in just 2:30, officially letting themselves get thoroughly dominated.
Goaltender Jonathan Quick was pulled for the extra skater to try to help gain back some ground late, but it didn’t work. Tarasenko instead scored an empty-netter and completed his hat trick.
He had four total points for the night.
So, in a game where they’d gone up 2-0, the Kings then allowed five goals and lost 5-2. It wasn’t quite the inexplicable drubbing they suffered versus the Montreal Canadiens, it was almost worse in some ways, because they honestly played terribly in the third period.
Kings had 1 shot on goal in the third period. Not a typo.
— Rich Hammond (@Rich_Hammond) December 17, 2014
Their road record is now 4-7-5, a dazzling 24th in the league. They get to play the Blues again on Thursday, this time at Staples Center. Martin Brodeur will be in net. If the Kings believe in justice at all, someone on the team will earn his own hat trick and allow me to laugh throughout the night, but I’ll also settle for them just not getting embarrassed again.