Twas the night before Thanksgiving, so today’s running diary comes to you live from the Star Alliance Lounge in the Tom Bradley Terminal at LAX. The menu includes curry chicken, red potatoes and onion, sushi, a cheese platter, chocolate mousse, and all-you-can-drink martinis. After the last game against the Blues, I’ve decided to have a martini for each Avs goal scored. [Note from the editor: oh no.] #Believe. So, here’s what happened:
Big challenge for the Kings tonight. The Avs feature Mikko Rantanen (32 points) and Nathan MacKinnon (29 points) on the top line, good for first and third in the league in scoring. The other guy on the top line? Just some guy named Gabriel Landeskog. He only has 22 points. Reminder: the Kings leader in points is Ilya Kovalchuk with 14 points (zero in his last six games…yikes!)
Edmonton native Dion Phaneuf gets his silver stick for playing his 1,000th game. He’s only one of 326 NHL players to do it. Hall of Fame broadcaster Nick Nickson handles the MC duties. Phaneuf has done a lot in 1,000 games:
- Finalist for the Calder Trophy in 2003.
- Member of the All-Rookie team that year.
- In his third season, he was runner-up to Nicklas Lidström for the Norris Trophy. (Note to readers, nobody beat Lidström for the Norris. He won it seven times.)
- In 2008, he was a first team all star.
- He’s scored 138 goals and 489 points and has 1,300 penalty minutes.
Prior to the national anthem, the Kings honored Ventura County Sheriff’s Sergeant Ron Helus, who was taken from us in the Thousand Oaks shootings two weeks. His family and entire unit were on hand. This is a good as time as any to say “Enough.”
3:24 – Dustin Brown gets blatantly tripped. No call. What else is new?
9:35 – Patrick O’Neal talks about the season being at the quarter pole, blah, blah, blah. Every year after twenty games the announcers and analysts talk about the quarter pole and they use it incorrectly. The quarter pole comes from horse racing and actually means the last quarter of the race. (Yes, I spent a lot of time at Hollywood Park at five years old. And, yes, my dad won and lost a lot of money there as well.)
9:57 – Kyle Clifford with the interference penalty preventing an odd-man rush.
10:30 – Petersen good again down low. Big delay. Wait? Is this a goal? How can it be? There are no angles to support that. But, the play is under review. After video review, no goal.
11:25 – Vladislav Kamenev with the power play tip in goal. Hey, Cliffy, you owe us one! Tyler Toffoli was about two steps behind Kamenev. Hey, Toff, you owe us one too.
15:26 – Kyle Clifford…prolific goal scorer! Fantastic hustle nets the Kings’ first goal of the night of a weird bounce on an innocent Tyler Toffoli dump-in that Semyon Varlamov couldn’t handle. Okay, Cliffy and Toff, we’re even now. Staples is rocking!
16:08 – Penalty on Kovalchuk. That’s a steaming pile of B.S., ref! Not a great night so far for the Zebras.
16:16 – Wow, hope is dashed fast. Tic, tac, goal! MacKinnon slams one over Petersen’s glove. I mean, Cal didn’t even make an upwards motion to defend it. Bill Ranford has his work cut out with that glove hand. Avs 2. Kings 1. The Avs have scored on their last four power plays over the last two games.
19:52 – Toffoli with the nice snipe and almost ties it. There’s still hope.
End of Period.
Clifford was the best Kings player in those first twenty. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.
Shots – Avs 11. Kings 6. Referee No Calls/Missed Calls 2.
Former King Dan Maloney passed away at 68. He was part of the deal that brought over Marcel Dionne. I liked Maloney a lot, but, of course, I loved Marcel in a Kings uni. Dan Maloney was a tough guy and a loyal teammate. R.I.P. my friend.
0:30 – The Avs big line with a rush already. Save Petersen! Nobody beats him down low.
1:30 – Jeff Carter with the big hit, face wash, and dump behind the net. Yes, we can still hit.
2:14 – The Cheetah, aka Austin Wagner, draws the penalty with a high stick. Yes, yes, he still has all his teeth. Perfect time to tie this sucker.
3:39 – Kovalchuk gets whacked with a high stick with the referee getting an unobstructed view. No call. Thanks Zebra! Ugh!
4:14 – Power play ends, and holy lame man advantage! The Kings special teams are horrid. C’mon Willie D., time to do something about that! You had two days in between games to work on this.
5:30 – Phaneuf gets high-sticked to the side of his own goal. No call again. Boys and girls, this is exactly why there’s fighting in the NHL: to police the illegal stick work. I’d predict some fist-a-cuffs, but the Kings enforcer has turned into a prolific goal scorer.
6:30 – Shots are Avs 15, Kings 7. C’mon boys…
8:17 – Nikita Zadorov with another penalty. Kings are due on the power play. Right? Hello? Is anyone hearing this?
10:17 – Power play over. The Kings should start declining their penalties. No, really. I’m serious.
11:33 – Patrik Nemeth with a fluttering goal. Never heard of him. Oh, it was his first goal of the year…that’s so Kings. Another goal over Petersen’s glove arm. Again, he didn’t get his arm up. Calling Coach Ranford, calling Coach Ranford! We need you, come right away. Avs 3. Kings 1.
14:03 – MacKinnon roughs up Carl Hagelin. Nice work to bait him, Carl. Kings back on the power play. I wouldn’t get too excited just yet, the Kings are dead last in the NHL with the man advantage.
14:18 – Offsetting minors. Ian Cole trips Anze Kopitar and the Zebras call Kopitar for embellishment. Are you kidding me? Embellishment? Kings should be on a 5-on-3. Weak call. Actually it’s a joke.
16:03 – Another power play gone awry.
16:43 – Tripping Jake Muzzin. You can almost feel the fourth Avs goal going up on the board in two minutes or less. Let’s call it now. Avs 4. Kings 1.
17:49 – Yep, you could see that a mile away. Colin Wilson with the third power play goal of the night. Three of three with the man advantage. Avs beat Petersen up high again. It’s officially Avs 4. Kings 1.
End of Period.
- The Zebras are terrible tonight.
- Kings’ specialty teams are worse. Avs 3/3 on the power play. Kings 0/3 on theirs.
- Patrick O’Neal is Captain Obvious, “Colorado is the better team, so far.”
Shots – Avs 22. Kings 20. Referee No Calls/Missed Calls/Bad Calls 7.
1:10 – That didn’t take long. Tyson Barrie shoots high off a rebound, and, of course, he scores. Avs 5. Kings 1. Jim reports the Kings body language is bad. It’s okay boys…at this rate, Jack Hughes or Vasili Podkolzin will be in a Kings uniform very soon.
2:47 – How ugly is this? The seas part for Zadarov and he skates through the middle with no resistance and beats Petersen top left corner. Avs 6. Kings 1. The Avs are outshooting the Kings 8-1 in this period. Petersen out. Peter Budaj in.
6:23 – Things are so bad tonight that Jim gives the Top Tier Play to Jonathan Quick who took shots in practice this morning.
8:24 – Matt Calvert with the long tip off a fluttering shot. Avs 7. Kings 1. I’m sure glad the interim tag is attached to Willie D. Rob Blake needs to call Coach Q and lock him down for the 2019-20 season. Stat!
9:32 – FSW shows us why Adrian Kempe has only logged 3:37 tonight and that’s not promising. Also a tight shot of Willie D. looking more and more like Jack Torrance of The Shining behind the bench. Poor Willie.
10:40 – The news of Mike Amadio being sent down to AHL Ontario finally reaches me. If you’re wondering why, replay the Chicago game and you’ll see.
10:46 – Drew Doughty with the delay of game. The boys in the booth throw it out to Patrick and Stoll outside. Patrick: “We’ll save our negative comments for the postgame show.” Note to Patrick: I’m seven martinis in, with maybe an eighth on the way. If you want negative, read all of the above.
13:14 – Mike Luff now has a two-game scoring streak working. Wagner gets his first NHL point. Avs 7. Kings 2.
15:21 – Wagner pots his first NHL goal to go with his first NHL assist. A two-point night! Congrats rookie. You’ve given us ray of sunshine in this disaster. Avs 7. Kings 3.
End of Game.
Kings Rookies 2. Kings Core 0. More soul searching ahead. Time to board my flight.
Shots – Kings 36. Avs 34.
EIGHTEEN WORD GAME RECAP
After a promising road trip, the Kings returned home and were thoroughly embarrassed by the Colorado Avalanche 7-3.
NEXT: The Kings host the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.
GAME NOTES: Stars of the Game: First – Rantanen, Second – Alexander Kerfoot, Third – MacKinnon… Colorado has scored three power-play goals in two of its last four games… Colorado is 8 of its last 11 with the man advantage… Alexander Kerfoot had three assists… Varlamov made 33 saves. Petersen allowed six goals on 31 shots before being pulled… Barrie extended his points streak to six games… Prior to the game, Rantanen was fined by the NHL for his second diving/embellishment infraction this season; it cost him $2,000… The Kings acquired F Pavel Jenys from Minnesota for in exchange for E Stephan Falkovsky… The Kings have lost by at least four goals in five of 21 games this season… Kovalchuk has zero points in his last seven games.
DREW DOUGHTY: “You know, it’s just a frustrating time. I don’t know what to say. I take it all personal because I’m the guy that needs to get us out of this and I’m doing everything, or I’m trying to do everything I can, and maybe sometimes too much and it’s going backwards on me, but it’s a frustrating time. We need to get out of it and we need to get out of it now. We’ve said that for weeks, but I don’t know what to say anymore honestly, so sorry.”