James Reimer and Petr Mrazek are perfectly fine, perfectly average goaltenders. But behind the Carolina Hurricanes defense (and the Los Angeles Kings lack of offensive abilities), they both look like Vezina contenders at times. Tonight was one of those nights.
In quite possibly one of their most frustrating contests since November, the Kings were a little sluggish to start. Their first 10 minutes were rather rocky as Jack Campbell was forced to make several quality saves until the team got their groove and found their
sea wind? legs. Jim Fox often says that mistakes are what causes goals in today’s NHL.
It was that one mistake that ended up being the game winner, despite everything LA did to try and score. On a non-icing play, there was some kind of miscommunication where maybe some guys thought it was icing, some didn’t know what was happening, they turned into chickens with their heads cut off, Campbell tried to do everything himself and it nearly worked, except Nino Niederreiter was able to reach over the prone goaltender and tap in the puck for an easy goal.
It looked a little something like this.
From there on out, the Kings really got their ish together and outplayed the Hurricanes. Full credit to Carolina for jumping on rebounds and making sure their goaltender had good sight lines, but it was still the most unlucky game since... the last time the Kings played the Canes.
Somehow, James Reimer managed to be absolutely perfect and be in perfect position every single time. Even when he was heavily screened, the game of inches favored him. One such example is when Tyler Toffoli just hit the outside of Reimer’s glove after Anze Kopitar won the faceoff. Think of the goal he scored in Vegas, except this time, instead of going past Reimer, for some reason, the hockey gods cursed Los Angeles and it grazed the outside of his glove. Why! Why @ hockey gods must you curse us so??
Even more unlucky, Drew Doughty hit the post and then fanned on an empty net in the last 30 seconds of the game. So close, but no cigars for the boys in white tonight. For his part, Campbell turned in another stellar performance tonight. Even though he “allowed” one goal, that one was really more on his teammates.
Hopefully things will be better in Tampa, a foe they haven’t beaten since the Lightning went all superhuman and stacked their roster with a ridiculous amount of talent a few years ago. The puck drops at 4 p.m. PST on Tuesday night.