What would Steven Stamkos have looked like in a Los Angeles Kings uniform? It appears that the designers behind Tampa Bay's new third jerseys were also curious:
Naturally, the Tampa Bay Lightning would choose to wear these $5 Figueroa knockoffs against Los Angeles for their Saturday afternoon tilt. And that's not the only thing the Lightning was cribbing from their West Coast superiors: They currently lead the league in Score Adjusted Corsi, a category which LA has owned the last two seasons.
How would the Kings respond to the Sunshine State copycats in the 2014 Stanley Cup tribute tees?
In your face, Stamkos!
The birthday boy didn't go off despite matching up against a hobbled defense missing Alec Martinez, and the Kings rode clutch lucky goals from Drew Doughty and Justin Williams plus egregious Tampa Bay errors to a 4-2 victory at the
Tampa was stricken from the start, when Tyler Toffoli took advantage of a sloppy exchange between Ben Bishop and rookie Luke Witkowski with a sweet backhand. About ten minutes later, Trevor Lewis made a cross-ice pass across the slot that should never connect except Cedric Paquette completely forgot about the hard-charging "Stick."
We knew for sure it wasn't the Lightning's day when Brown-Kopitar-Gaborik pinned them down in the zone in the dying seconds of the first—a forecheck that was called perhaps LA's best shift of the year—which led to a Doughty wrister from a tough angle that found light.
Despite a spirited comeback by Tampa, Jonathan Quick came through with some big saves (this is only the fourth game in his last 21 appearances where he's posted above a league-average .913 Sv %), Williams notched a breathing room strike, and that was all she wrote.
Mr. Game Seven...th of February.— Chris Villa (@skatewithpancho) February 8, 2015
Robyn Regehr was on the ice for EIGHT of LA's 12 EV scoring chances, while also leading the Kings in possession (+7 Corsi). Even more impressive is the fact that he logged 29 minutes of ice time. And even more impressive is I waded through all of Regehr's game logs to learn that the last time he played as much in a non-playoff OT game was December 23, 2005 (32:02). He was 25 and had just been named to the 2006 Canadian Olympic team.
"Reggie" was pressed into service because Martinez had to leave the game early after being rocked by a clean Paquette hit. A-Mart should be okay with day-to-day concussion symptoms.
I'm not worried. The Kings will be fine without Martinez, as we learned that Robyn's typical possession struggles clearly stem from not playing enough.
But seriously...are the Kings ready to take off yet? Well, we've been at the launch pad before. But dominating the Vancouver Canucks on New Year's Day and upending the Chicago Blackhawks two weeks ago were both followed by losing streaks.
Fuck it, I'm calling it here. See you in the first round, Anaheim Sucks.