This Week in Kings (1/27/14)

tl;dr version: loss, loss, loss, OUTDOORS!loss

I'm not going to even pretend I was looking forward to this one. The Kings lost every game while every other team in the division got points. It was a very rough week. Let's get through this together, hopefully with a minimum of frustrated tears (we'll need to save some of those for later tonight, probably).

This Week in Games

(here's all the games involving the Pacific Division from this past week. we'll talk about the LA Kings' games in great detail, while the rest will mostly just be scores, unless I have something to say about it. you'll also get links to Eric's awesome recaps and Nick's fantastic grades/analysis, which will expand on everything I'm saying in much greater detail if you missed any of them.)

Monday, January 20th

-Boston Bruins 3, Los Angeles Kings 2: As you may recall I was writing last week's edition of TWIK live from Boston (from the apartment of the editor of the Bruins' excellent SBN blog, Stanley Cup of Chowder, actually, because we're all just one big happy family), in town to attend this MLK Day matinee. Despite the result I can't really complain too much about my experience: our seats were pretty great given the insane second-hand market prices, the TD Garden itself is a wonderful venue and there was something pretty special about finally watching a game live there after years and years of seeing it on TV, and the game had at least one really fun period (the third, when the Kings made their push). Giving up the game-winning goal just 18 seconds after you tied it might have been a tramautic and surprising experience to anyone else, but we're Kings fans, so I can't say our reaction was much more than "huh, this again? well okay". Oh well. Boston was a blast and the Bruins fans were very welcoming- way more welcoming than the Islanders, Devils, or Rangers fans were during that weekend, it must be noted- so I can't really complain. Fun game, glad I went, even though the Kings really didn't play very well. (recap) (grades & analysis) (gamethread)

-Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Phoenix Coyotes 2

-San Jose Sharks 3, Calgary Flames 2

Tuesday, January 21st

-Columbus Blue Jackets 5, Los Angeles Kings 3: Woof. We're used to the Kings playing dominant possession hockey and just generally outplaying their opponents without getting the results (and don't worry, they'd get back to doing just that soon enough, stay tuned!), but after a mediocre-at-best effort against the Bruins, the Kings just flat out sucked in this one. For once they not only definitely deserved to lose, but were probably even flattered by that score. The Jackets were rolling entering this one, and didn't really have much of a problem securing their seventh straight win against a lifeless Kings team that looked like they were still mentally back in Boston. That's how it goes on back-to-backs sometimes, I guess, but games like this are going to hurt even more when you're in the middle of your second long losing streak in less than a month. (recap) (gamethread)

-Vancouver Canucks 2, Edmonton Oilers 1

-Winnipeg Jets 3, Anaheim Ducks 2: Man, why is it always like the dumbest teams who end these epic streaks? Colorado last year (when they really sucked, if you forgot, as opposed to their weird sucks-but-somehow-still-wins thing they've got going on this season) ended Chicago's epic streak without a regulation loss, and then the Winnipeg friggin' Jets are the ones who finally snap Anaheim's 22-game home unbeaten streak (the Kings did beat them earlier this season, yes, but in a shootout; Anaheim had yet to lose in regulation at home, and were obviously the last team who hadn't done so). Jonas Hiller decided he was sick of the streak, I guess, as he allowed 3 goals on just 11 shots to get himself pulled (hey, where was THAT guy at Dodger Stadium?!). To add to the weirdness, Ondrej Pavelec, who is usually seen playing goal really badly when he isn't drunk driving, stopped 40 of 42 for the Jets. Okay, sure, whatever.

Wednesday, January 22nd

-Calgary Flames 3, Phoenix Coyotes 2

Thursday, January 23rd

-Nashville Predators 2, Vancouver Canucks 1: Nashville did us a real solid here, as the Kings are in the middle of their epic slump right at the same time Vancouver is hitting a patch of schedule so soft you might confuse it for a baby's bottom. Thank god they actually lost one of these games in regulation, mostly because Carter "no one confuses me with Rinne" Hutton stopped 33 of 34 shots to stone them. The Canucks took a 1-0 lead into the 3rd off a Chris Higgins goal all the way back in the 1st, but Craig Smith scored his 16th (!) just three minutes or so into the frame to tie things up, and then Nick Spaling gave the Preds their first lead of the game nine minutes later. Thanks to Hutton, the one-goal lead held up.

-Anaheim Ducks 2, Los Angeles Kings 1: The Kings came back to Southern California and went right back to what they've become well-known for: outshooting, out-possessing, and just generally outplaying the opposition without actually scoring any goals against them. Cool. Great. That's not sarcasm, by the way, because this was almost a sight for sore eyes after that Columbus game. Of course you'd like to see them get a better result, but c'mon, they were playing the PDucksO in their home rink, where as we just covered they've only lost once in regulation all year. Were you really expecting anything different? I was just happy to see them not get blown out or play like garbage again. The Kings even managed to briefly make Darryl Sutter look like an insane genius, as it was his bizarre King-Kopitar-Lewis top line that came through for the early 1-0 lead. That it was the only goal the Kings would score is of course a problem and also counter-acts that whole "insane genius" thing, but small victories, I guess. I know fans hate it when we get on Quick for allowing all of two goals, but boy was he not great in either Anaheim game. When the Ducks are only getting 21 shots on goal, you'd like to see him make at least one more save to put this game into overtime, at the very least. Yes the Kings have to score more, and yes, Quick isn't their biggest problem right now, but when their system is keeping the opposition from generating much at all, you need your goalie to come up with another big save now and again to help you get through your scoring woes (as he did with much more regularity in that 11-12 "robbed for the Vezina" campaign). Oh well. (recap) (grades & analysis) (gamethread)

-San Jose Sharks 1, Winnipeg Jets 0

Friday, January 24th

-Calgary Flames 5, Nashville Predators 4 (SO)

-Phoenix Coyotes 4, Edmonton Oilers 3: You know what I bet the Coyotes were thinking after this game? "Wow, we just barely held onto a 4-0 lead against the Edmonton goddamn Oilers and managed not to have a complete collapse, we're goin' to friggin' Disneyland!". I know I'd be thinking that.

Saturday, January 25th

-Anaheim Ducks 3, Los Angeles Kings 0: You know what Quick, nevermind that whole rant I just said. If they're not even going to score one damn goal for you, feel free to let in seven for all I care. Yeah, so this game was pretty similar to Thursday's, except without a Kings goal before the Ducks' two (the third was an empty-netter) and ZOMG OUTDOORS! Seeing Vin Scully and Bob Miller together at the start of the game was like my ultimate fanboy nerdgasm, and even the usual crushing disappointment of the Kings in this game couldn't do much to diminish that. Whatever, I wrote the recap for this one, go read that, I don't really feel like talking about this game again. It sucked. It was outside. It was The Usual Kings Game with palm trees and a volleyball court. (recap) (grades & analysis) (gamethread)

-San Jose Sharks 3, Minnesota Wild 2 (OT): I flipped over after the Dodger Stadium game almost literally just in time to catch Joe Thornton's OT game-winner, because of course I did. At least it lead to this awesome tweet.

Sunday, January 26th

-Edmonton Oilers 5, Winnipeg Jets 1

-Vancouver Canucks 5, Phoenix Coyotes 4 (OT)

This Week in Standings

Team GP W L OTL Points ROW GF GA Diff Home Away Last Week
1. Anaheim 54 39 10 5 83 37 182 130 +52 21-1-2 18-9-3 2-1-0
2. San Jose 52 34 12 6 74 26 165 125 +40 19-2-3 15-10-3 3-0-0
3. Los Angeles 53 29 18 6 64 23 132 113 +19 16-7-3 13-11-3 0-4-0
4. Vancouver 53 27 17 9 63 24 135 134 +1 14-7-5 13-10-4 2-1-0
5. Phoenix 52 24 18 10 58 20 151 160 -9 14-8-3 10-10-7 1-2-1
6. Calgary 52 18 27 7 43 14 119 165 -46 9-14-3 9-13-4 2-1-0
7. Edmonton 54 16 32 6 38 14 140 188 -48 9-14-2 7-18-4 1-2-0

Say it with me folks: no movement in the Pacific standings yet again, as they're starting to become awfully static. The Ducks had a 2-1-0 week, while the Sharks went a perfect 3-0-0 to at least close in to single digits in points behind them for the first time in a long while. At the same time, the Kings of course went 0-4-0 and now trail the Sharks by double digits for second. Sigh. A loss against them tonight would make catching them an even more remote possibility, especially given that game-in-hand they've still got on us. Meanwhile, Vancouver had a 2-1-0 week to move just one point back of the Kings for third, threatening to send LA falling down into the Wild Card mix for the first time in months. So yeah, not a good week.

Speaking of that Wild Card, here's the updated standings (top two get in, rest make like Nadal in the Australian Open and go home empty-handed):

Team GP W L OTL Points ROW GF GA Diff Home Away Last Week
1. Vancouver (P) 53 27 17 9 63 24 135 134 +1 14-7-5 13-10-4 2-1-0
2. Minnesota (C) 54 28 20 6 62 22 129 133 -4 19-7-2 9-13-4 1-1-1
3. Phoenix (P) 52 24 18 10 58 20 151 160 -9 14-8-3 10-10-7 1-2-1
4. Dallas (C) 52 24 20 8 56 21 151 153 -2 13-8-5 11-12-3 3-1-0
5. Winnipeg (C) 54 25 24 5 55 20 152 158 -6 13-10-4 12-14-1 3-1-0
6. Nashville (C) 54 23 23 8 54 22 141 150 -9 12-10-4 10-13-1 2-1-1
7. Calgary (P) 52 18 27 7 43 14 119 165 -46 9-14-3 9-13-4 2-1-0
8. Edmonton (P) 54 16 32 6 38 14 140 188 -48 9-14-2 7-18-4 1-2-0

Wow, things tightened up here in a hurry huh? At the top, Vancouver does remain in the #1 Wild Card seed; they did relinquish it briefly to Minnesota this week before retaking it like a day or two later. Minnesota had that infamous fence week of 1-1-1, so they sit a point behind Vancouver and still in the second Wild Card seed. Below them Phoenix helped them out with yet another poor showing, a 1-2-1 week that saw them use up one of their games in hand. They do still have two more of them left on the Wild while sitting four points behind them, but boy have they been squandering their opportunities lately.

And in more bad news for the Coyotes, all three Central teams sitting behind them had great weeks. The Dallas Stars put themselves back in the conversation after several straight poor weeks, going 3-1-0. They now sit just two points behind the Yotes for third, and more importantly six points back of the Wild with two games in hand. And just one point behind them are the Jets, who continued to get results for their new coach Paul Maurice, also going 3-1-0. Oh, and the Predators are quietly kinda back in this thing too, as they're one point behind the Jets after going 2-1-1. 8 points is probably too much ground to make up, but the point remains: these teams all look like they could be back in this race, and all you need is one of them to keep playing hot to really make a run at it (the smart money would probably be on Dallas there, by the way). The Kings had better not let themselves fall any further back into this mix, if they know what's good for them.

This Week in #fancystats

(all stats are total attempts, not percentages. thanks to extra skater.)

Bruins 3, Kings 2
Corsi: Kings 53-Bruins 43 (overall), Kings 37-Bruins 36 (5v5, 46.0 mins), Bruins 26-Kings 16 (5v5 close, 26.2 mins), Bruins 13-Kings 9 (5v5 tied, 11.8 mins)
Fenwick: Kings 37-Bruins 32 (overall), Bruins 27-Kings 25 (5v5, 46.0 mins), Bruins 20-Kings 10 (5v5 close, 26.2 mins), Bruins 9-Kings 7 (5v5 tied, 11.8 mins)
Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Williams (+11), Richards/Frattin/Muzzin (tied, +7). Worst: Regehr (-11), Voynov (-8), Nolan/Carter (tied, -7)

Blue Jackets 5, Kings 3
Corsi: Kings 54-Blue Jackets 53 (overall), Kings 39-Blue Jackets 37 (5v5, 47.8 mins), Blue Jackets 33-Kings 24 (5v5 close, 31.5 mins), Blue Jackets 17-Kings 13 (5v5 tied, 14.5 mins)
Fenwick: Blue Jackets 44-Kings 36 (overall), Blue Jackets 30-Kings 25 (5v5, 47.8 mins), Blue Jackets 26-Kings 18 (5v5 close, 31.5 mins), Blue Jackets 14-Kings 10 (5v5 tied, 14.5 mins)
Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Muzzin (+9), Pearson (+6), Richards/Frattin/Carter/Doughty (+5). Worst: Regehr (-7), King (-6), Lewis (-5)

Ducks 2, Kings 1
Corsi: Kings 61-Ducks 38 (overall), Kings 42-Ducks 25 (5v5, 42.6 mins), Kings 29-Ducks 17 (5v5 close, 27.8 mins), Ducks 6-Kings 5 (5v5 tied, 7.2 mins)
Fenwick: Kings 49-Ducks 31 (overall), Kings 33-Ducks 21 (5v5, 42.6 mins), Kings 24-Ducks 13 (5v5 close, 27.8 mins), Ducks 4-Kings 3 (5v5 tied, 7.2 mins)
Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Voynov (+13), Brown/Williams/Regehr (tied, +9). Worst: Clifford/Nolan (tied, -2), Fraser (-1)

Ducks 3, Kings 0
Corsi: Kings 70-Ducks 34 (overall), Kings 45-Ducks 27 (5v5, 43.9 mins), Kings 9-Ducks 5 (5v5 close, 8.2 mins), Kings 4-Ducks 2 (5v5 tied, 2.7 mins)
Fenwick: Kings 53-Ducks 32 (overall), Kings 32-Ducks 26 (5v5, 43.9 mins), Kings 7-Ducks 5 (5v5 close, 8.2 mins), Kings 3-Ducks 2 (5v5 tied, 2.7 mins)
Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Kopitar (+21), King (+18), Carter (+14). Worst: Martinez/Stoll (tied, -3), Nolan/Clifford/Williams/Brown (tied, -2)

Next Week in the Pacific

(this is exactly what it sounds like: the next week's schedule for all 7 Pacific Division teams. all times are pacific because, um, duh.)

Team 1/27 1/28 1/29 1/30 1/31 2/1 2/2
LA @SJ (7:00) @PHX (6:00) - vs.PIT (7:30) - vs.PHI (1:00) -
ANA - vs.MIN (7:00) - vs.PHI (7:00) - vs.DAL (7:00) -
SJ vs.LA (7:00) - @EDM (6:30) @CGY (6:00) - vs.CHI (7:30) -
VAN vs.EDM (7:00) - vs.CHI (7:30) - @WPG (5:30) - -
PHX - vs.LA (6:00) - vs.BUF (6:00) - vs.PIT (5:00) -
CGY - vs.CHI (6:30) - vs.SJ (6:00) - vs.MIN (7:00) -
EDM @VAN (7:00) - vs.SJ (6:30) - - @BOS (10 am) -

The Kings start off the week with a lovely back-to-back on the road against the Sharks tonight and the Coyotes tomorrow (though at least the Yotes have been struggling mightily for weeks now). But once they get that out of the way they finally get to play some games on the Staples Center ice for the first time in a while, as they open up a four-game homestand against by welcoming in both Pennsylvania teams. The Penguins are very good, the Flyers really are not. We'll see how it goes.

Anaheim has the first three games of a five-game homestand, welcoming in the Wild, Flyers, and the Stars. The Sharks play host to the Kings tonight, make a quick stop in Alberta to pick up four free points, and then come home for a showdown with the Blackhawks on Saturday. The Canucks finish up their four-game homestand with the Oilers tonight and the Blackhawks in the latest edition of their overhyped rivalry on Wednesday, then head in to face the Winnipeg Jets on Friday. Phoenix has the first three games of their own three-game homestand with the Kings in town tomorrow, the woeful Sabres on Thursday, and the Penguins on Saturday. The Alberta teams will probably lose a bunch of games. And there's no Pacific games at all on Sunday, presumably because there's something else going on that day but whatever it is I doubt it's very important.

That's all I've got for you folks. Let's hope the Kings give me some wins to talk about for next week's edition, starting with beating those assholes from San Jose tonight.