Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Comeback Falls Short

This game was tough to watch and I almost turned it off but I'm glad I didn't even though the Kings lost. The Kings started the game on their heels and it looked like it was going to be a long night. Calgary immediately got on the board and quickly followed with a second goal. I couldn't believe how good Calgary looked in the first half of the first period and well, for most of the game. They were skating circles all around my team exposing every single passing lane. Now I know why the media is all up in Iginla's business because that guy is goooooooood. I was so jealous of how well Calgary played and immediately thought that we didn't even have the tiniest chance of making this a close game.

Crow smartly called a timeout after Calgary went up by two less than 4 minutes into the game. In the past Crow would have let the guys play or maybe even pulled Barbs like he did a couple weeks ago, but I was glad to see him use the TO. The Kings definitely picked it up after taking a breather and settling down but while Bob and Jim thought the guys were playing much better I still didn't see them clicking like they needed to in order to win the game. Willsie had multiple scoring chances but just couldn't put the puck in the net. On one play that Willsie flubbed P said, "C'mon Willsie, you're better than that!" and I said, "No, he's really not." If only any other line had been out there and had the chances he had...The only good thing that I noticed the Kings do in the first period was not take many penalties (only one was called against them) but P quickly squashed my attempt at looking on the bright side by noting "a lack of a negative does not make a positive." Whatev, dude, let me have my moments...

Frolov eventually got the Kings on the scoreboard by exploiting Kipper's mistake of attempting to play the puck behind the net. As Kipper anxiously waited for the puck to enter the trapezoid, Frolov skated in on Kipper, stripped him of the puck and wrapped it in for the goal. Besides Calgary regaining their two goal lead not much else happened in the second; the Kings played at Calgary's tempo and both teams had adequate chances and numerous hits.

The Kings opened the third period looking like they owned the Flames. Stuart pulled the Kings to within one and Nagy tied it moments later. Lubo was the key player in Nagy's goal. Lubo fired a slap shot from the slot that missed the net but was so strong that it came flying back into play to the right of Kipper. Fro got a stick on it and it eventually came out to Nagy who was to the left of Kipper and he patiently collected the puck, waited for Kipper to make the move, and netted the Kings' third goal. Kopitar was perfectly positioned to score the Kings' fourth goal and thankfully the ref was also in the perfect spot to clearly see that Kipper never had control of the puck. Kopitar's goal was his first since the Dec 29th game against Colorado and only his second since the game against Chicago on Dec 12th...Where has he been lately??

Anyway, after the Kings got ahead they had the momentum, the fans were into the game and it looked as if the Kings were actually going to win this game. However, the Kings just couldn't hold onto the lead and the comeback wasn't meant to be. Calgary tied it on a PPG, went ahead on a PPG, and secured the lead on an empty-netter in under 7 minutes.

At the beginning of the game I knew the Kings would be in trouble if they took too many penalties, which is why I was glad to see them only take one in the first period. Eventually the physicality of the game, the speed of the Flames, and their undisciplined play got the best of the Kings as they ended the game with 6 penalties and allowed 3 PPGs. While the Kings have the PP working (currently ranked 4th in the league) their PK is atrocious (28th) and is usually a major factor in their losses. I want to list all the areas the Kings need to improve but it would take me too long. Instead, here's a brief pep-talk for future games: Start the game ready to play, try playing a full 60-minutes, quit leaving your goalies for dead and stop taking too many penalties or get your PK in order. Oh right, and Win.

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