Kings @ Avalanche Recap: The Kid, the Bad, and the Ugly
The Kings played their fifth consecutive game without Jeff Carter, which was also happened to be their sixth game in just ten days.
The Los Angeles Kings played a Colorado Avalanche team that is probably exceeding expectations a bit now (their sixth place central division standing would be good for third in the Pacific, after all). The Kings also played their fifth consecutive game without Jeff Carter, who was on pace to be their leading scorer. It was also a stretch of six games with one back to back, no extra day rest, and five road games. I think you can see where this is going.
The Kings certainly looked tired last night. I felt tired watching them. The team managed a measly 15 scoring attempts at evens on their way to a total of a meager 39 shot attempts. Aside from very few moments, the only timed they looked threatening was on a handful of the five powerplay chances they were gifted. One of those powerplays ultimately led to the Kings' only goal, courtesy of young Tyler Toffoli.
Mr. Toffoli's (please excuse me, I have to amuse myself a little bit here) nineteenth goal of the year in just 39 games played puts him on pace for 40 goals this year. The last Kings to flirt with a 40 goal season were Luc Robitaille and Ziggy Paflfy. Heck, they haven't even had a 30 goal scorer since Anze Kopitar did it in 2009-2010, although Jeff Carter's pace of 26 goals in just 48 games would have put him well above both totals.
I guess I have to talk about the game again. The only other King that it's easy to give praise to is Anze Kopitar, whose golden chance early on in the first almost gave the Kings a 1-0 start. He also finished top in the shot attempt battle in what was really a poor effort by most players.
Jake Muzzin also had quite the poor night. A bad pass from Milan Lucic hopped over his stick and created an odd man rush. Jarome Iginla's 600th goal was a bankshot off of his skate, and according to War-On-Ice, he finished at a -15 Corsi differential, almost 10 worse than any other King (seriously, is that data broken)?
Semyon Varlamov had a solid game, including his stop on Kopitar's opening chance. Jarome Iginla scored his 600th goal, one of Colorado's three power play goals on four opportunities. Those power plays also earned defenseman Tyson Barrie two goals on his way to a four point night.
Despite the bad night, the Kings still sit with a ten point lead in the Pacific division, have a lot of home games coming up, and some not so great opponents. It's easy to forget this loss and simply send prayers to Jeff Carter's hand. We found his lost dog, so why wouldn't this work, too?