Well it 6-2 to be a fan of the Los Angeles Kings right now. This game was frustrating in that the team wasn’t playing that horribly at 5v5 but were simply outmatched, especially on special teams. As the game wore on, it became increasingly clear just how much better than the Kings the Tampa Bay Lightning are.
At first, it wasn’t so bad. Determined not to look like complete fools, the home team got off to a good jump, testing Andrei Vasilevskiy early. Jake Muzzin nearly squeaked one past him but it just didn’t quite have enough backspin on it.
Alas, luck was not on their side in this game. Things really started spinning out of control when they couldn’t maintain discipline. First, Brendan Leipsic didn’t control his stick and got a double minor for high sticking (though there was no blood so I’m not sure about the injury on the play Jim Fox mentioned on the broadcast). A minute later, Dustin Brown hooked Brayden Point for an extended 5v3. They were already perilously close to giving up a power play goal so you can only imagine what was going to happen being down two men.
They weren’t doing so bad after their failed penalty kill but then a bad turnover to Ryan Callahan in the neutral zone sort of put the nail in the coffin of this game. If you go down 2-0 into the locker room, you’re probably disappointed but still determined to win. If you’re losing by three, that’s just dispiriting.
Summary of the first period:
The second period started off very poorly. Shortly after puck drop, Ryan McDonagh scored from the boards. When it rains, it pours, it seems.
When you come out fighting but totally miss...
Part of this game was some poor luck because it may have slightly ticked off Brown’s blade and Jonathan Quick was sliding to his right. Mostly, it was just poor team defense.
Not great, Bob.
On the bright side, Austin Wagner showed up and wanted to make his presence known. He scored on a breakaway. Beautiful boy that he is, he beat McDonagh to a loose puck and roofed it over Vasilevskiy’s shoulder to break the shutout.
What a good child.
Under five minutes to go, Anze Kopitar got nailed for high sticking. Apparently it was a theme in this game. Steven Stamkos is really, really good, y’all. Like, damn.
Muzzin hit the post at the buzzer, but alas, was not meant to be for our favorite heavily bearded defenseman.
Second period summary:
The third period was played mostly because rules stipulate that it must be so. Tampa scored their sixth goal just after the Kings power play expired. A shot went wide, caromed around the boards, and Drew Doughty lost a foot race to some rookie named Mathieu Joseph, who scored his tenth of the season. It was close but Doughty fell down and Joseph was all too happy to have Quick all to himself.
Speaking of power plays, they got another one at the end of the game and Doughty got his revenge by scoring and raising Vasilevskiy’s goals against average just a little.
The Kings will be back in action on Saturday night at 7 p.m. PT.