It’s the Los Angeles Kings vs. the Vancouver Canucks. Anytime the 2018-19 Kings go for a second straight win, it’s must see television. After all they have only done it twice this season (Nov. 3 vs. Columbus and Nov. 6 vs. Anaheim). Tonight’s running diary comes to you live from the Media Guy Man Cave where the menu includes JapaDogs, west coast oysters, BC rolls, and some Old Society Oaken Wallflower Gin. Since I don’t feel like drinking too much tonight, I’ve decided to have one shot for each Kings goal scored.
So, here’s what happened:
Alex and Jim are very excited that the two-man top line of Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown are clicking once again. Jim gets real with us for a moment acknowledging that this season has been a struggle, especially for the top guys. (He did leave out what a struggle it’s been for us watching the games at Staples and at home. Yes, Jim, the struggle is real.)
Before the anthems, Alex tells us that Jonathan Quick has been activated from the IR and will back up Cal Petersen tonight. Quickie, we missed you while you were gone (almost as much as we missed any semblance of an offense).
After sitting through two torturous national anthems by Vancouver’s Jim Byrnes, I’m on Ilya Kovalchuk watch wondering if he will see more than eight minutes of ice time tonight. In football, there are quarterback controversies. For some reason in Los Angeles we have a contrived Kovalchuk controversy. More on that as we go.
I just got center envy as we are reacquainted with the Canucks’ Elias Petterson, age 20 (13 G, 8 A) and Bo Hovat, age 23 (11 G, 11 A). Young talent. Sweet.
0:07 – Icing and the Kings go immediately to a view of Willie D. in his return to Vancouver. Jim talks about Coach D. challenging his team to gamble more to create more offense. One can only hope, right?
2:40 – Delay of game against Vancouver. Kings should really decline this one. The power play before the coaching change was 14.9%, or 23rd in the NHL. After the coaching change it’s 16% or 22nd, with three shorthanded goals allowed (thanks All the Kings Men Podcast for that nugget.)
3:00 – We get our first Kolvachuk mention of the night with Alex noting that he did receive some practice time on the second power play unit today. That’s very generous of Willie D. to grant that to the player signed to be the Kings power play specialist this year. Currently on this power play are Tyler Toffoli (one goal in ten games), Jeff Carter (scoreless in ten games), Brown, Kopitar, and Drew Doughty.
3:21 – The second power play consists of a virtual Murderer’s Row of Dion Phaneuf, Alex Iafallo, Nate Thompson, and Adrian Kempe to accompany Kovalchuk. Ah, the fear this is producing in the hearts of the Canucks!
4:40 – Nothing doing on the power play. Kings still zero for the season on the road power play. Kolvachuk produces the best chance with the man advantage, which is a shocker to no one except the head coach.
5:07 – Petersen with the timely save and no rebound.
5:41 – Kovalchuk back on the ice as he returns to the second line with Carter and Toffoli in the defensive zone.
6:04 – Two blocks on that shift by Kovalchuk. He’s back! I’m sure with Willie D’s defensive mindset that he will be logging some nice TOI after sitting out the third period in the last game.
8:10 – Matt Luff looking for a goal in his fifth consecutive game, DENIED by Jacob Markstrom!
8:57 – Nope. I guessed wrong as Kovalchuk is pushed by to the fourth line with Thompson and Sheldon Rempal (who previously played three games with the Kings in October). One-timer by Kovalchuk goes off Markstrom’s leg.
11:27 – The red light goes off and Alex Biega lifts his stick to celebrate, but, noooooooooooo! Save of the Year Candidate from Petersen! How in the world did he do that? Looks like Bill Ranford been putting in extra time on the glove hand this week.
12:00 – Brown with the big hit. What’s better than a Brownie Crunch? I’d say only a goal or three.
15:46 – Austin Wagner gets flagged for the hook. Fun Fact: the penalty kill before the coaching change was 81%, or 11th in the NHL. After? 65.6%, 30th. Yikes!
End of Period.
No score after one. Kings playing solid. Petersen playing special. But again, they are playing Vancouver, which creates an interesting optical illusion of effectiveness.
Shots – Vancouver 12. Kings 7.
Kovalchuk TOI 2:39 (second lowest among Kings forwards).
0:20 – Carter with the hook. Kings have allowed 10 power play goals in their last seven games. I’m sure Willie D. will blame Kovalchuk for that by the end of the night.
2:20 – Petersen with three saves on the last ten seconds of that power play.
2:49 – Kovalchuk out with Kopitar and Iafallo now as Tinkering Willie D. refuses to let anyone get comfortable playing with each other. Kovalchuk immediately creates havoc with a slapper from the point with a big juicy rebound. No one converts.
3:52 – Reason #152 why Kyle Clifford shouldn’t be on the second line: a bullet of a shot from Derek Forbort leaves a potable rebound in front the net that Cliffy cannot convert. You need some soft hands there. But hey, anytime your fourth line winger puts up three goals and no assists in 22 games, you have to move him to the second line, right?
6:09 – Brock Boeser rings a backhander off the post. We’re still scoreless!
10:45 – Kopitar gets blasted, Brown somehow keeps the puck alive and feeds Iafallo who lasers it home. Kings 1. Canucks 0. Another fun fact: in 20 of the Kings’ 23 games, the team who scored first won the game.
13:19 – Kings on the power play. I am not sure whether to be excited or scared.
15:19 – Kings power play is still scoreless on the road this season.
18:42 – Another Kings power play. Will this be their time?
End of Period
20 minutes to go. Can the Kings hold their slim lead?
Shots – Vancouver 20. Kings 17.
Kovalchuk TOI 7:28.
00:18 – In a surprising upset, the Kings do absolutely zero with their remaining time left on that second period power play.
5:17 – ALERT: We have a Kovalchuk sighting; only his tenth shift of the game. Thompson loses the draw and the fourth line winds up playing D for the entirety of that shift.
6:28 – Petersen!
6:33 – Petersen again!
7:02 – Petersen with another save.
10:00 – Kovalchuk with two shifts this period. Kings needing goals, but leave their offense on the bench. This leaves the even the Vancouver broadcast team wondering why. Why Willie, why?
11:10 – Kings with only 19 shots. Ugly. But hey, they’ve won sixty per cent of their face-offs.
12:43 – Willie D. shortens his bench as Thompson joins Kempe and Luff. [Pardon me while I scratch my head.]
13:13 – Petersen!
13:16 – Petersen stops Hovat on the rebound!
13:47 – Petersen!
13:49 – Petersen secures another on the side of the goal. Kings being outshot 13-3 in this period. Only a matter of time before Vancouver gets one past mighty Cal Petersen. Loyal readers will remember my suggestion that Willie D. make me the keeper of the timeout and recommend when to use it. Well, Willie, now is the time.
14:01 – The Canucks 50-50 raffle jackpot is $1,413,630 and the winner’s amount is $706,815. If you purchased your tickets at home (like I did), the winning number is AM 204 5523. Wow, $700,000!
16:17 – Markus Granlund with the expert high re-direct and ties it up 1-1. Note to the Kings coaching staff: that’s what happens when you play not to lose.
End of Period
Kings with a point! Can they get the second in overtime?
Shots – Vancouver 33. Kings 25.
Kovalchuk TOI 9:04.
00:53 – Martinez with the big shot off a give and go and Brownie saves the day again with his OT winner! Kings win! 2-1. Time for another Wallflower Gin.
Shots – Vancouver 33. Kings 23.
Kovalchuk TOI 9:04. (You have to wonder how Nate Thompson get 17 plus minutes TOI. Mind-boggling to say the least.)
TWENTY WORD GAME RECAP
Cal Petersen and Dustin Brown gifted an overtime win for Kings coach Willie Desjardins in his return to Vancouver, 2-1.
NEXT: The Kings Western Canada road trip continues as they visit the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.
STARS OF THE GAME: First – Petersen, Second – Markstom, Third – Brown…
PETERSEN: “The whole time it was our game to win and I think it was just a matter of time, really. Obviously when they get one that late in the game it could be deflating, but I think we have been through too much as a team to let stuff like that continue to bother us. It showed in the overtime. We controlled the play and luckily we were rewarded.”
MARKSTROM: ”We’re playing tighter in front of our net and we’re letting their shots come from the outside, so we’re doing a good job. We’re creating a lot of scoring chances as well, even though we haven’t scored as many goals as we could have. So goals are going to come.”
BOESER: “It was a tough first two periods and we all knew that after the second, we weren’t making good passes and we weren’t helping the D out in the D-zone. Our compete wasn’t there and they were outworking us, outbattling us.”
BROWN: “Even from a young guy it has an effect on the team when you have a guy who doesn’t get flustered or when a goal goes in he just resets and goes. Cal has a lot of that calmness in net that I think kind of helps our team not panic.”