Part 1: January 7, 2010. Jimmy Howard makes 51 saves before the Kings finally score, but Darren Helm scores with 17 seconds left and the Red Wings win 2-1.
Part 2: December 13, 2010. Jonathan Quick shuts out the Red Wings on NBC with 51 saves of his own. Los Angeles wins 5-0, in a game where the scoreline is, um, generous.
Part 3: March 9, 2012. Detroit takes ten minutes to get a shot and only puts 15 on net in the entire game. Naturally, they score on four of them, including the game-winner by Helm with a minute left. Joey MacDonald (yes, Joey MacDonald) outplays Jonathan Quick.
On the bright side? After Part 3, the Kings won six in a row, and didn't really slow down until Dustin Brown lifts the Cup at the Staples Center.
("Is it hard being this optimistic, Rover?" Yes. Yes it is.)
Part 4... today.
In the first, Jimmy Howard is dominant, and the Red Wings strike first on a classic Pavel Datsyuk dangle. The Wings score again when rookie scorer Damien Brunner beats Quick on the glove side after some further pressure by the Kings. Anze Kopitar scores on a rebound with 40 seconds left in the period to give Los Angeles a boost into the intermission. What follows is the Kings' most dominant period of the season.
In the tradition of the last few games, LA racks up the shots in the second period, throwing 23 shots at Howard. He allows nothing. That's also part of the tradition. Our power play looked tremendous today, but they couldn't score.
A tight third period follows, and it isn't until Quick is pulled that the Kings finally solve Howard. After some extended offensive-zone time, Alec Martinez pokes in a loose rebound off a Kyle Clifford shot to give the Kings their deserved equalizer. It's the 47th shot on Howard in the game.
Then, Jonathan Ericsson takes a hard, but fairly innocent-looking, slapshot with six seconds left. It hits Jonathan Quick... and then sneaks through between his legs and trickles in. 4.5 seconds left. The Kings have nothing to show for their effort.
(Insert your profanities here.)
Anyway, if you follow the advanced statistics posts from Robert and the analysis from blogs such as Eyes on the Prize, the Kings are, somehow, playing as well as anyone in the league. But that doesn't matter right now. The Kings have eight points in ten games and are in 14th place in the West. But the eighth-place team has 13 points in 12 games. Win the next two games, and the Kings are right back in the thick of things. Otherwise, we're left dwelling on lost points... like the two we could have had (and the one we absolutely should have had) today.
I'll let you all throw in your analysis in the comments. Some questions, although you're welcome to go off the script today.
- Do you change anything for tomorrow's game against the Blues?
- Are the Kings the unluckiest team in the league?
- What did you think of new arrival Keaton Ellerby?
- How do you plan on cheering yourself up today? I need some ideas.
We get another shot at the Wings at the Staples Center on February 27. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.