Saturday, December 20, 2008

Is It All Downhill From Here?

Friday's game against Buffalo was atrocious. I had to turn it off because it was so painful.

I missed the first two periods of today's game against Detroit but I was pleasantly surprised to see them tied 3-3 heading into the final period. I was even more surprised to find out that rookie netminder Jonathan Quick was in net and had been there the entire game. Was LaBarbera's outing the previous day terrible enough to warrant him a spot on the bench the following day? Earlier in the season, even with Ersberg backing him up, Murray played Barbs game after game despite being shaky in net. While I was pleased to see Murray not play favorites and insist that Barbs is definitely, without question the Number One goaltender, I was still questioning if it was the smart move to start a rookie against one of the top teams in the league.

I can't judge how the team played the entire game, but in the third, despite taking a one-goal lead from Brownie off of a sweet pass from Stoll, the Kings didn't deserve the win. After getting that fourth goal the Kings stopped trying to play offense and instead tried their hardest to clog up the neutral zone and stop the Red Wings from tying the game. Not only did the Kings fail to prevent the Wings from forcing extra time, they found themselves completely helpless against the Stanley Cup Champs, falling to them 4-6.

Quick had some bad rebounds and allowed a short side goal that he should have stopped. Quincey was cheating and found himself at the top of crease not doing much to prevent a pass through the crease or tie up Hudler and not allow him to score so easily. For the second half of the period the Kings were scrambling and always looked a step behind the quick, smart, fluid Red Wings.

The Kings are in the midst of a four game losing streak and now the goaltending position is in the hot seat again. I'm not convinced Quick can pick up the pieces and be the Kings' best defender when LaBarbera is struggling, which recently has been too often. I've been waiting for the Kings to get past the 0.500 mark and prove to everyone that they are a winning team, but lately they haven't shown it and their record continues to get worse. Will the Kings finish the season hovering around 0.500, figure out how to be more consistent and be a winning team, or continue this downward spiral and finish in the bottom quarter of the league?

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