Thursday, October 8, 2009

Game 2 - Kings v. Sharks

So as a follow up game to the embarrassment that was Opening Night, this game had some ups and some downs. In general the Kings played MUCH better than the first game, though admittedly that means just about nothing. That being said, a win against last season's President's Trophy winners, and a team that by all accounts is projected to finish at or near the top of the Western Conference is nothing to scoff at. Now onto the positives and negatives:

First the positives. The Kings came out rolling. The team was playing exceedingly well for the first period and change. After coming out with some serious energy, the Kings racked up four consecutive goals and chased the usually consistent Nabakov. The Kings offense was firing on all cylinders for this game, especially for the first half of the game. With six different players getting on the score sheet (five if you leave off the empty-netter at the end of the game), the team is hopefully going to continue their offensive talent. Although it's highly unlikely that they'll put six up every night (obviously), this is hopefully an indication that they've got the firepower that was desperately missing last season. Only time will tell if they can keep it up. The final positive worth noting is the obvious. They managed to snag a solid win against a big division rival, projected to finish at the top of the Pacific by most experts.

Now onto the negatives. Wow what a collapse. After coming out strong, the Kings fell apart after chasing Nabakov. After putting four goals up, the Kings had an important power play near the end of the second period. Instead of putting the game, and the Sharks, away, they allowed them to climb back into the game with an atrocious and inexcusable too many men on the ice penalty. This kind of mental meltdown allowed the Sharks to score the first of four goals on their way back to tie the game. Eventually the Kings managed to pull the win out, but it's not something they are going to be able to rely on. In addition, if the Kings are unable to close out a game in which they are leading 4-0 more than halfway through the game, how are they going to finish out a tight game with MUCH less breathing room? The final (but not insignificant) negative was the Penalty Kill. With all four of the Sharks goals scored on the power play, the Kings failed to kill even on penalty successfully. Hopefully this was a blip on the radar, and they'll turn that aspect around. Special teams will be key this season, and a weak PK could be lethal. We'll see I suppose.

In all, I'd say this was a good turn around after game one. They'll need to build on the positives, and leave the negatives behind. Up next? Kings v. Wild on Thursday. Any predictions?

Kings - 6
Sharks - 4
Kings Scorers: Wayne Simmonds (1), Ryan Smyth (1), Jack Johnson (1), Anze Kopitar (1), Ted Purcell (1), Davis Drewiske (1)
Sharks Scorers: Devin Setoguchi (2), Rob Blake (1), Dany Heatley (1)

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