Have you ever gotten a call from a friend with an extra ticket to a game? Awesome, right? What if the game started within the hour just as you're leaving work?
That's right, still awesome.
Forgetting about the fact that southern California has suddenly turned into northern Scotland, I drove to Staples Center hoping the walk into the arena wouldn't soak me to the bones. But the roads were surprisingly empty as were the Los Angeles Kings in the first 10 minutes of the game. Where were they? Perhaps outside searching for parking. Fortunately they showed up with the usual spunk and push, but it seemed nearly impossible for them to get any pucks past Ryan Miller even with all the pressure they were applying in the Sabres' zone. Unlike past games against the Sabres, the Kings and Sabres BOTH showed up! This wasn't a blowout for either team; rather, it was a solid contest from both sides.
Side note, there was a pleasant occurrence from Sean O'Donnell scoring his second goal of the season. I'm certain he surprised himself because everyone else in the arena was.
It's amazing how many small things you notice and can actually see when you're 5 rows from the glass. For instance, I'm sure the shaft of someone's stick scraping down your side feels great or having the metal stanchion impale you in the forehead. I saw these and more along with every single grimace from Jarret Stoll as he plastered a guy into the end boards. I love the feeling of excitement and anticipation when a player picks up the puck and takes control of the zone. There are a few of these players in the Kings roster who can put that spark in the air. Here are two: Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty. Here are two who do no such thing: Alexander Frolov and Teddy Purcell.
In the shootout, Miller was closed out with two backhanded shots by Kopitar and Dustin Brown. Jack Johnson had a bit of a fail with his attempt while Jonathan Quick was looking solid at the other end of the rink. With this win, the Kings are 7th in the West for the next 12 hours or so. They are looking toward a 5-game road trip with the first stop in Detroit, which I'm expecting to be a great game. The Red Wings are currently one point behind the Kings in 8th place so Saturday's game should be a VERY good one to watch.