Every night sees changes to the standings in the West. The top four are duking it out while the bottom four are going at it just as hard. The Los Angeles Kings faced fellow four-to-eight-standings Colorado Avalanche last night to see who would jump who. With this overtime win, the Kings moved ahead of the Nashville Predators into 5th while the Aves remain in the 7 slot. The overall gap is closing in on the San Jose Sharks who have now lost five in a row, but more surprising are the Phoenix Coyotes who are sitting atop the Pacific Division. No one thought that would be the case (at least in the next few seasons) but it's happening and we can only sit back and watch.
Compared to the last game against the New York Islanders, this game was high-flying. There was so much more energy than in the last game, which you could see on every shift and it was refreshing to see the jump back in their legs. Justin Williams definitely turned up his game after being benched for much of the third period just two days ago, but there were two others who were even better.
- Ryan Smyth; everything I've said about this guy... I take it back. I have to; this guy is flat out good. Plus, he got the first star of the game and signed the stick while skating to pass it over the boards. I've NEVER seen someone do that and I could only smile when I saw that.
Drew Doughty. This kid can do no wrong. I won't accept arguments, nor do I expect any. I don't know what more I can say other than when his overtime goal hit the back crossbar, I was speechless. Speechless.
But it can't all be fun and games. Let's not forget the breakdown of the Kings final shift of regulation where T.J. Galiardi scored with just six seconds left on the clock. Uhhhh, that was bad. Letting the Aves move in for a final rush was a bit lazy on their part, but it's necessary to nitpick at these shortfalls. At the same time, they're consistently maintaining their level of play for virtually all 60 minutes, which is more than I can say for any of their past seasons. This year has been fantastic in that department to watch as a fan.
Alas, as with all good things come a few bad. Alexander Frolov. This game was all bad for him as he rode the pine again seeing only 9:39 of TOI. I'm not sure what is going to happen here, but I'm actually not too worried seeing as how the team did just fine with Frolov playing less than 10 minutes. That's not to say I don't feel bad. I do! He's only ever been with the Kings but it's quite surprising to see his play drop off as they approach the playoffs for the first time in his tenure. Wtf?
This is a total side thought that's been in the back of my head for awhile with no real place to put it, but here goes. The fact that the Kings will make the playoffs with Terry Murray instead of Marc Crawford puts joy into my heart. That is all.