The "What's wrong with the Los Angeles Kings?" debate has been pretty loud lately, and for good reason. LA wasn't playing very well, and even when they had their good games (Friday against Carolina), the goals weren't coming. The first period of Sunday's afternoon game against the Florida Panthers followed the pattern. Thankfully, in the second and third, the Kings finally played up to their capabilities and got the job done offensively.
Oh, and Ben Scrivens got a shutout. Result: a comfortable 3-0 victory. Nick already posted a great breakdown of the team's performance, so I'm just going to hit on some of the key parts of Sunday's game. COUNTDOWN!
5 Moments of Confusion
This is estimated, and also cheating to make sure it fits in the countdown. Whatever.
Ben Scrivens played well (more on that in a bit), but his main weakness was in the puck-handling department. There were a number of times when the puck came behind the net, and Scrivens lingered for a long time behind the net waiting for help, or just the perfect pass. I'm sure this will improve as Scrivens becomes more familiar with his defense, but it's the one area of Scrivens' performance yesterday which causes some concern.
4 Shotless Stretches
Fun stat from yesterday. The Panthers had four periods of five minutes or longer without a shot.
- 10:44 of the first period to 4:21 of the second period
- 10:48 of the second period to 19:00 of the second period
- 0:21 of the third period to 6:07 of the third period
- 11:56 of the second period to 17:25 of the third period
It's definitely easier to hold a lead when the other team can't even get a shot on net. The Kings held Florida to just six shots in the third, and in the second they outshot Florida 16-8.
3 Even Strength Goals!
The Kings broke out of their 5-on-5 struggles with three goals at even strength, and all three were the result of "skill" plays in some respect. Daniel Carcillo's first goal came off of a pass which I'm gonna need more space to explain, but his shot was nicely tucked inside the far post. The second was a give-and-go between Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar which left Jacob Markstrom diving helplessly at the end. And the third was created by Jarret Stoll's burst of speed and perfect pass to a streaking Jordan Nolan. Goals from the first, second, and fourth lines. Nice.
(The Williams goal was his 500th NHL point, by the way. Woo!)
Big improvement: the Kings took only two penalties, and only one was taken by a defenseman. The PK has been solid this year (84%, tenth in the NHL), but they've had to work, as the Kings are fifth in minor penalties taken in the NHL. This is a step in the right direction.
1 Incredible Pass
Just look at this. Mike Richards, explain how you saw Dan Carcillo on this play. Or don't, if you don't want to reveal your secrets. Maybe we should stop making jokes about that magical Philly connection?
0 Goals Allowed
Good showing by Mr. Benjamin Scrivens in his first start. He got plenty of breaks thanks to a great forecheck and a good defensive effort from his team. But when needed he was solid. His rebound control was average, but his positioning was good, and aside from the aforementioned communication with his defense, he did everything he needed to do. More performances like that will help Darryl Sutter considerably; no one wants Jonathan Quick to play 70 games in the regular season again. Congrats, Ben!