The Kings opened the season last night against the Ducks in London for some stupid reason or other. If you missed it, don’t be afraid to check out RudyKelly’s recap over at BoC (ok well, maybe be a little afraid). Rudy always does a great job of making you feel like you were at the game:
“9:56: Just so you guys know, all. Senior. Citizens. Should. Have. Life Alert. I like to think that that old chick talks like that all the time. "Would. You. Please. Get. Me. Some tea."
If that's not good enough for you here are some highlights:
- 1st Line (Cammalleri-Kopitar-Brown), C. They were rolled evenly against all opposing lines and did ok in possession considering it was a score effected game. That being said, they weren’t able to create any scoring chances at even strength but also didn’t need to considering that L.A. jumped out to an early lead. This should be a fun line to watch this season and will hopefully be one that sticks together for years and years to come.
- 2nd Line (Frolov-Armstong-Calder), B-. The Kings strongest line of the night from a possession standpoint. They were hard-matched against the Ducks top line and were able to stay above water in possession. They, like the first line, weren’t able to create much offense. Derek Armstrong was out-chanced 1-4.
- 3rd Line (Zeiler-Handzus-Nagy), F. This was a pretty bad performance from the the third line. I think the Kings could be better served giving younger, skilled players like Teddy Purcell or Matt Moulson a shot over guys like John Zeiler. They were matched almost exclusively against the Getzlaf line and were pretty much swallowed whole. Side note: Ryan Getzlaf is the oldest looking 22 year old man in the history of humanity.
- 4th Line (O’Sullivan-Murray-Ivanans), F. It is with great pain that I type the names “Murray” and “Ivanans”. They’d be more fit playing for the Long Beach Ice Dogs, who incidentally aren’t even fielding a team this season. Patrick O’Sullivan is an exciting prospect with some real potential. Not sure what the purpose of having him anchored to these gigantic piles of rubble serves.
- 1st Pair (Johnson-Modry), C. They were entrusted with top-pair minutes and were surprisingly not terrible. Like all other Kings’ units, not much was created in the way of offense when they were out there. They were hard-matched against the McDonald line and didn’t surrender much territorially which was actually quite a feat considering score effects. They also started 7 shifts in the defensive zone to only 1 in the o-zone. That being said, I think most of the credit for any success this pair had has to go to Jack Johnson. These two guys are on completely opposite ends of the spectrum in their careers. Johnson is a young and exciting offensive defenseman who will probably anchor the Kings blueline for years to come. Modry is a slow, plodding stay home guy at the tail end of his career. Johnson could really use an upgrade on his defensive partner.
- 2nd Pair (Visnovsky-Blake), B. They were matched exclusively against the top six. Although they ended up underwater in the possession game, they actually only allowed one scoring chance against. Not exactly sure why they got less time at evens than the Johnson-Modry pairing, but they did. It seems like this is the most defensively responsible pair and you’d want them out there as much as possible when playing with a lead but Marc Crawford probably knows what he’s doing, right?
- 3rd Pair (Stuart-Preissing), F. A pretty de-Preissing effort. They were a -6 Corsi against the Duck’s third line.
Power Play, A+. L.A. created 6 scoring chances and scored 3 goals with the man advantage-- which was great because they looked like this at 5v5.
Penalty Kill, A. They spent nearly 12 minutes shorthanded and only allowed 3 scoring chances. This is a good sign considering L.A.will probably spend a lot of time killing penalties thanks to guys like Ivanans, Murray and Zeiler.
Jonathan Bernier, A+
The future of the franchise. He stopped 11 out of 12 scoring chance shots and 26/27 overall. A quality start from a 19 year old in his NHL debut. He’s seems to be way ahead of the curve in his development. It’s only one game, but the Kings may have finally found their first decent goaltender in a very, very long time.
Overall Team Performance, C+
A win is a win, but in truth L.A. didn’t look like anything special at evens. They won this game through special teams and goaltending. If the Kings are going to have anything approaching success this season, they’re going to need to play better at 5v5. Right now, it doesn’t look like they have the forward depth to do that.
More from Jewels From The Crown:
- Jonathan Quick's Awful Year
- This Week in Kings (11/4/13)
- LA Kings' Top 25 Under 25: #5 - Tanner Pearson
- Player Power Rankings: Kopitar on Top, Bottom Six... on the Bottom
- Sutter calls out Mitchell and Greene
- Recap: A Quick Loss to Nashville