The Los Angeles Kings seem to have a pesky habit of looking across the ice, seeing a young, untested goalie looking for his first win, and going “oh snap gonna lose to that guy for sure now”.
Well, I’m sure they don’t say that specifically, but that’s sure how it feels sometimes to those of us watching from home or the stands.
I took a look back at each loss this season to see just how many goalies the Kings managed to help out in the self-confidence department. It’s a short, but mighty, list.
- Hasn’t won a game yet in the season (exceptions given, of course, for the first few games of the year, when no one’s won anything),
- or, won his previous game, but won despite himself, so the media “he’s having a rough patch” narrative got cranked up to 11,
- or, is an established goalie who hit a losing streak,
- or, just, like, whatever, man, this is my list.
- Garret Sparks, Toronto. Sparks’ season debut as the Maple Leafs’ backup didn’t go as expected; he allowed six goals on 31 shots to the Chicago Blackhawks, including two goals in the last 90 seconds of the game. The game-tying goal came with just 29 seconds left. While the Leafs would go on to win just 19 seconds into overtime, the Toronto media was all over Sparks for his sloppy performance. Well, friends, enter the Los Angeles Kings. Toronto played the Kings on October 15 and Sparks stopped 33 of 34 shots to collect the win and get Toronto to slow its roll for a minute.
- Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver. While Markstrom currently looks like an all-star behind a surprisngly good Cancuks squad, they weren’t looking so hot in November. Markstrom lost six consecutive starts, allowing 22 goals in that span. He faced the Kings on November 24, stopped 20 of 22 shots, and got his team back in the win column.
- Mikko Koskinen, Edmonton. Koskinen doesn’t technically fit any of the actual categories listed above, but if any casual Kings fan had ever heard of the 30-year old netminder that the Oilers plucked out of the KHL before playing them on November 25, like, dude, you deserve a medal of some sort.
- Keith Kinkaid, New Jersey. Much like Markstrom up there, Kinkaid lost his five previous starts, allowing 20 goals in the process. The Kings made him and the struggling Devils look like all-stars on December 6, though. Kinkaid gave up three goals on 32 shots while his team otherwise rolled over the Kings.
- Matt Murray, Pittsburgh. Clearly what this list needed was a two-time Stanley Cup champion. Murray has struggled this season; he lost six consecutive starts, including every game he started in November (22 goals allowed), and then missed a month to injury. His first game back involved facing the Kings on December 15. While the Kings did manage to push that one to overtime, Pittsburgh still won, and Murray collected his first win in nearly two months.
- Malcolm Subban, Vegas. Honestly, as soon as anyone saw the big zero in Subban’s win column for this season, you should have just penciled in a Kings loss. Proving that maybe the sixth time is a charm, Subban finally cranked out his first win of the season, allowing one goal and ending the Kings’ winning streak. He allowed one goal on 31 shots. It was that kind of night.
A view from the other side of the ice in yesterday’s win. [Knights on Ice]
Post-game notes and reactions from Willie Desjardins, Anze Kopitar, Jake Muzzin, and Adrian Kempe. [Kings Insider]
The Kings went on a four game winning streak. But is success really a good thing when Jack Hughes could be the prize at the end of the season? [Los Angeles Times]
US women’s team gold medalist Megan Duggan teamed up with CCM to make a gear donation to the LA Lions girls’ hockey program. [California Rubber]
Devante Smith-Pelly visited a DC-area school after a classroom wrote letters to him. Don’t mind me, I’m not crying over this story or anything. [RMNB]
John Quenneville is running out of time to secure a spot in the NHL. [All About the Jersey]
Who let hockey players act? A look at the best/worst commercials NHLers have appared in. [The Athletic]
A look back at the biggest stories in women’s hockey this year. [The Ice Garden]
Stuff is, uh, going down in Dallas. But is the CEO’s anger directed in the right place? (No.) [NBC Sports]
Some stats to back up exactly how much not-the-problem Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are. [The Point]
There is exactly one NHL game tonight, and it’s Vegas against Arizona. I’m sorry. Maybe there’s some football on or something, I don’t know.