Arizona 4, LA 1. It's Friday night, so we'll keep it to some fairly brief thoughts on a disastrous game (though perhaps not a disastrous effort) for the Los Angeles Kings...
LA also started off the 2014-15 season with consecutive losses to the San Jose Sharks and the Arizona Coyotes, then proceeded to win six straight. Of course, the Kings didn't look great during that streak, with Jonathan Quick stealing two of those games outright. Unfortunately, Quick doesn't look capable of stealing a game in his current form. The overly harsh judgment would be that he doesn't look capable of winning a game; the overly generous judgment would be that the goals weren't his fault.
The truth was somewhere in the middle. The Kings played a strong possession game but allowed a few grade-A chances due to turnovers and the occasional bit of confusion in their own zone. And Quick didn't bail anyone out. (Kings Live called it being "out of sync," which I only slightly can disagree with.) On the other hand, Good Mike Smith returned with a vengeance. Tyler Toffoli's shorty was the only damage against him, and that was scored after he made a cartwheeling save on Jeff Carter left the net open. One year after leading the league in shorthanded goals, Toffoli's doing it again!
As for the debutantes: Weal showed good and bad qualities, sometimes on the same shift. One comes to mind from the second period: Weal made a nice play with his stick to poke the puck loose in his own end, breaking up a Coyotes chance. He then immediately got trucked by a much larger Coyote. Unfortunately, the turnover on Max Domi's first NHL goal is unfortunately the most memorable part of his evening; he looked overly casual for perhaps the only time all evening, and the puck drifted away from him to set up an easy chance. Top corner, and Domi (a Calder dark horse) had a goal to go with a primary assist on Oliver Ekman-Larsson's goal.
After Domi made it three, Tobias Reider put another wrister in the corner two minutes later. Bronx cheers rained down on Quick at that point, though he stopped all 12 shots from that point forward. Some were pretty good stops, too. The Kings continued firing away the rest of the game, but their shots were continuously turned away, and when they couldn't capitalize on the next two power plays they were pretty much toast. (Kopitar and Gaborik had the best chances to my memory, each firing high slappers that Smith was able to fight off.) Dustin Brown, who didn't risk getting suspended tonight, led the team with seven shots.