Honestly, you should be impressed that this entire recap isn't just Anze Kopitar's name repeated about 700 times.
By announcing the long-expected Anze Kopitar extension prior to the start of the game, the Kings won before they even set foot on the ice. Unfortunately, that doesn't actually count for points in the standings. Ottawa still waited around to play, for some reason.
The Kings entered the afternoon fresh off their longest lay-off of the season. That, along with the fact that they were playing a matinee game, seemed to set the table for a sloppy game. If you expected such a game, the early-going didn't disappoint. Through 14 minutes, the two teams had exchanged just 10 total shots despite each having a full power play.
A brief moment of tension was created shortly after the Kings' first power power play of the night. A weak shot managed to find its way through Jonathan Quick. Bobby Ryan lifted his arms in the air in celebration, which prompted me to wonder why the heck he's lyin'? Quick managed to trap the puck against the post before it crossed the goal line. The game remained scoreless.
The Kings seventh shot of the night was a Drew Doughty slap shot from center ice with about 4:30 left in the first period. Just a couple of minutes later, Mike Hoffman whiffed on a shot for the Senators.This qualifies as excitement, yeah?
Finally, with a minute and a half left, the game ceased to be sloppy. Just kidding.
Tyler Toffoli drew a penalty with some stellar board play. On the delayed penalty, the Kings maintained possession while they had the goalie pulled. Following a lengthy cycle, Tyler Toffoli tried to rifle a one-timer on net, but only caught about 10% of the puck. Fortunately, Jeff Carter was in perfect position to capitalize on the broken play. From the bottom of the near circle, Carter ripped a shot that banked into the net off the side of Senators goaltender. The good thing about the scoreboard, though, is that it only asks how; it never asks how many. Toffoli is thankful for this.
Mercifully, the first period ended. It was the kind of hockey that makes you wonder why matinee games are a thing.
Any rust the Kings had when they stepped on the ice to start the afternoon was shaken off by the time the second period started. The Kings were the Kings again, at least for a time.
After Dustin Brown did Dustin Brown things and drew a penalty, a couple of newer Kings connected. Jeff Carter raced through the neutral zone and dished off to the left wing, where Christian Ehrhoff was waiting. Ehrhoff slid down the far wall and centered a semi-blind pass in the general area of Jeff Carter. The puck never found Carter, but rattled around until Vincent Lecavalier wound up with it on his stick. Craig Anderson had sprawled out thinking that Carter was going to get a stick on it. This left the top of the net open for Lecavalier, who was able to bury his first goal in a Kings uniform. It was another broken-ish play, but the Kings aren't complaining and neither am I.
Despite continuing to control the flow of play, the Senators would strike next. Luke Schenn and Christian Ehrhoff struggled with a bouncing puck and failed to clear it. After Jon Quick pushed a tough rebound to the slot, Alex Chiasson put the puck in the wide open net to cut the Kings' lead in half.
The sloppiness that plagued the early portion of this game had seemingly evaporated by the time Tyler Toffoli wound up bearing down on Craig Anderson, alone on a breakaway. After Marian Gaborik set up the play with an incredible tip pass, Erik Karlsson felt obligated to wrap Toffoli up and prevent a scoring chance. This set up the 58th penalty shot in Kings history. Unfortunately, Tyler Toffoli wasn't able to make good on his redo, and the Kings remained up by just a goal.
Speaking of turning points, the Kings put forth one of the most dominant shifts you will ever see. Keyed largely by Anze Kopitar, the Kings controlled the puck in the offensive for 1:27 consecutively. They only were able to get one high quality chance on goal, but it was beautiful hockey. Until Jordan Nolan ruined it with a penalty.
Fortunately, the Kings' lead survived the Senators power play. At the conclusion of that power play - which spread itself across two periods - shots were 26-13 in favor of the Kings. Despite this, they maintained just a one-goal lead.
Shortly after killing the penalty, the Kings' top line was rewarded for the excellent shift they had near the end of the second period. Milan Lucic flew into the offensive zone and raced toward the near corner. He threw a beautiful pass across the goal mouth, where Tyler Toffoli secured the easy finish. Anze Kopitar picked up a secondary assist on the play, his first point as The Eighty Million Dollar Man.
Once again, the Senators seemed dead and buried, and once again, the Senators poked their crappy skeleton hand out of their grave. Spooky.
Schenn and Ehrhoff were victimized again. Following another loose rebound by Jon Quick, Mika Zibanejad found himself alone in front. Quickly, he dished across right across the top of the crease - through Schenn - to Bobby Ryan. Ryan put home the tap in.
Just moments later, Jake Muzzin made a brutal error. With the puck on his stick and Jean-Gabriel Pageau on his heels, Muzzin turned to the middle of the ice right in front of Jonathan Quick. Pageau made an aggressive swipe at the puck at the perfect time, which propelled the puck past Quick and into the net. Just as the Kings were getting the party started, the Senators showed up like the cops at the end of Super Troopers to have their own brand of fun.
With 10 minutes left, the game had been renewed and the matinee blues had come back.
The Kings started the sprint to the finish line by falling on their face. Or, more accurately, by hitting the Senators in the face. Nick Shore announced his involvement in the game by taking a double-minor for high sticking with about 9:30 left in the game.
Power plays have always been the great equalizer. The Kings had dominated most of the game, and the Senators had only been able to put pressure on in fits and starts. However, the Sens put all of their offensive skill to work while they enjoyed a man advantage, and in the back-half of the double-minor, they finally took the lead. Mika Zibanejad scored the go-ahead goal and the Kings would have a bit more than six minutes to equalize the game themselves.
Unfortunately, when the game finally required them to, the Kings weren't able to get out of the mud. The team that dominated the second period was nowhere to be found. Six listless minutes transpired with barely any threat at all, and Mark Borowiecki picked up an empty net goal for his first tally of the season.
It was twenty minutes of brilliance bookended by forty minutes of the opposite. In a larger sense, it was an unjust result, but it's not hard to feel where this one went wrong. Jonathan Quick wasn't as sharp as he has been, and the Senators capitalized on some unforced errors, errors that they didn't find themselves guilty of in their own zone.
The Kings will have a chance to quickly wash the taste out of their mouths when they take on the Anaheim Ducks tomorrow.