Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Aw Shucks

First, let me say that I apologize for being scarce in my postings lately. I've been moving, and frankly making sure my lights remain on when I get to the new place, so this has taken a back seat. I'll do my best at this point to get back on track, and we'll review the last few games at this point.

All I can say at this point is that... oh my goodness. After the first two games, any impartial observer might have ask themselves, which team are we going to see this season? Game 1's terrible team with disorganization and all around terrible play? Or Game 2's much more straight forward, solid and competent play. Through five games, that question has been (at least tentatively) answered. The Kings are on a four game winning streak, taking them to the top of the Western Conference, and matching their best start to a season since their 92-93 season, which as we all recall ended in a Cup Final appearance. Will this season end in a Cup Final appearance? Or even (knock on wood) a win?

I doubt it.

But one thing can be said at least this far into the season. Watching Kings hockey is fun again. Now onto the games:

Game 3 - Kings v. Wild
This game seemed like a replay of Game 2. Complete with the strong start, a partial collapse, followed by the Kings putting the game away late. While I'm not thrilled about the fact that they let their opponents back into the game twice in a row, I am happy with the way that they managed to lock down the game and play with a lead. Too many times last year the Kings let a lead slip away, and far too many points were dropped as a result, and these two games early may be an indication that the problem has been at least a bit solved. The six goals is also a great sign that the offense has some real potential this season.
Result: Kings 6 - Wild 3

Game 4 - Blues v. Kings
A totally different game than the first three. In the first game, Kings got rolled. In the second and third game there was a wide-open, offensive bonanza. This game was neither. This was a hard-nosed, grit it out kind of game, and the Kings demonstrated another aspect to their game that has been missing in the past few seasons. It's worth mentioning that Jonathan Quick, after couple decent but unspectacular performances, really stepped up his game with 29 saves. After climbing up to a two goal lead, the Blues grabbed one back, making for a tense ending to the game, but in the end the Kings again managed to put the points in the bank. Another nice ending to a solid game.
Result: Blues 1 - Kings 2

Game 5 - Islanders v. Kings
OK so nobody expected the Islanders to be... good. And in all likelihood they'll be at or near the bottom of the league by seasons end. But despite this lack of quality, any Kings fan has to be pleased with the ability of the Kings to step up and take the points they should be taking. In all fairness, if the Kings are able to consistently lock up full points for the wins against mid-level and lower-level teams, they'll be in great shape come playoff time. In another replay of the previous games, the Kings jumped out to a two goal lead off goals from Kopitar and Doughty, before giving one up near the end of the game. Although I would have liked to see the Kings prevent that one goal to preserve the shutout for Quick, who was clearly deserving after another excellent performance.
Result: Islanders 1 - Kings 2

In all there is a lot to like about the team and (obviously) the start. I'd love to see the Kings grab another win against the streaking Rangers to prove that their wins are going to stand up to the top teams in the league.

Kings Statistics Through 5 Games:
Anze Kopitar - 4G 6A
Ryan Smyth - 4G 4A
Drew Doughty - 2G 4A
Justin Williams - 1G 4A
Michael Handzus - 2G 2A
Alexander Frolov - 1G 3A
Jarret Stoll - 0G 4A

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