Avs @ Kings Recap: Not So Special Teams
Special teams made the difference for the Avalanche in a game featuring 13 minor penalty calls.
At the end of the first period, the Los Angeles Kings were cruising against the Colorado Avalanche. They had drawn two penalties, scored two goals and outshot the Avalanche heavily - an 18 to 5 margin. Then the second started, and it all went downhill.
There are a lot of positives that I'd like to talk about regarding this game. For one, Anze Kopitar springing Drew Doughty on a man-on-man battle in which Doughty motored around the defender and roofed a pretty backhand past the goalie. I'd also like to talk about Vincent Lecavalier's beautiful stickhandling and playmaking that setup a Trevor Lewis goal. Finally, I'd love to talk about the sensational pass from Jordan Nolan to give Dwight King his fourth goal of the year.
Now I'll venture back to the realm of the believable. The Kings heavily outshot and outchanced a not very good team only to lose the game. Things turned the corner for the Avalanche early in the second when the Kings simply didn't seem to take the Avalanche's zone presence seriously. This allowed Matt Duchene the room he need to move around and put a shot on Jonathan Quick in tight.
Lackluster effort in their own zone would help the Avs notch their second goal as well, courtesy of Gabriel Landeskog. This goal seven minutes into the second kicked off the series of penalties. Nine more minor penalties would be called before the final whistle blew. Those penalties would also be direct causes for the final two goals to seal it for Colorado.
The Avs' second tying goal came when Drew Doughty and John Mitchell were in the box for offsetting minors. Jake Muzzin had also been sent off for tripping on what truly looked like incidental contact on a play for the puck. The Kings penalty kill looked strong for the most part, and they weren't allowing shots or in tight chances. Yet, with 40 seconds left the effort appeared to taper off giving Landeskog an easy look for his second of the night.
Next, Tyler Toffoli was whistled for a holding call in the offensive zone in a play for the puck, which he ultimately won thanks to wrapping his stick around. The Kings again looked strong on the penalty kill only to have its lingering effect result in a goal five seconds after it ended. Jonathan Quick also shares blame after the huge juicy rebound he gave to Nathan MacKinnon.
The Kings had their power play chances too, of course. They were marked by long sustained zone pressure, and lots of deflections in front, but they usually had no second chances. Converting on just one of them would have been the difference in taking the game to overtime.
The final tallies were indeed quite ugly for the Avalanche. They were outshot 38 to 19. They were outchanced 28 to 12, with 11 of LA's chances being of the high danger variety. No King player finished negative in Corsi, and when you factor in all situations, the Kings had phenomenal 34 to 5 and 20 to 2 shot attempts for and against while Jake Muzzin and Vincent Lecavalier were on the ice, respectively.
It was also one of Quick's worst nights, and he would probably want at least two out of the four goals back. I don't want to hate on him too bad, so let's close with this eye-popping paddle save he made in the third period. Enjoy your all start break, Kings.