This Week in Kings (10/13/14)

Really, this is back? Yep, this is back.

Last year I brought you TWIK, a weekly recap of all the games in the Pacific Division, thoughts on the standings, upcoming schedule, and a quick and dirty collection of #fancystats. Despite being a lot of work every week, I found that doing TWIK kept me more informed on the division (and even the Western Conference in general) than I had ever been in the past. So it's back for another go this season.

If you want to see snapshots of the 2013-14 NHL season standings based on the week or just what the general feeling was around the Kings and the division at any particular time, definitely check out the archives from last year. I literally did not miss a single week, which is probably more commitment than I've shown most jobs I've actually been paid money to do. Anyway, a new season is well underway, so let's get right into it!

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 there's something that really stood out about them. you'll also get links to Eric's awesome recaps which will expand on everything I'm saying in much greater detail if you missed any of them.)

Wednesday, October 8th

-Vancouver Canucks 4, Calgary Flames 2: As one would probably expect, the Canucks didn't seem to have much trouble with the Flames during their opening game of the season. Vancouver outshot the Flames 33-25 despite having a lead for most of the game. New acquisition Radim Vrbata paid immediate dividends while skating on a line with the Sedin twins, scoring the eventual game winner 11:07 into the 2nd period.

-San Jose Sharks 4, Los Angeles Kings 0: God, whatever. I don't really want to talk about this game again and I doubt you really want to read about it either. The Kings raised their second Stanley Cup banner in three seasons and then once again were thoroughly outplayed by an elite opponent. If the NHL schedulers would like to maybe match us up against the Oilers or the Jets or someone next time, that would be really nice. (recap) (gamethread)

Thursday, October 9th

-Pittsburgh Penguins 6, Anaheim Ducks 4: The Ducks tried to outscore some shaky goaltending from Future Vezina Winner John Gibson (6 goals allowed on 39 shots), but not even a hat trick from human foreskin Corey Perry would be enough to get them a victory in this one.

-Calgary Flames 5, Edmonton Oilers 2: Another season, another embarrassing loss on home ice to their provincial rivals for Edmonton. Actually the Oilers didn't play poorly by any stretch, apparently dominating in shot attempts and outshooting the Flames 40-26, but Ben Scrivens allowed 5 goals on just 26 shots. Just from looking at the highlights, the Oilers probably needed to be a bit better in their own end as well, but at least they had the puck going the right way for most of the game, and that's progress for them.

-Winnipeg Jets 6, Arizona Coyotes 2

Friday, October 10th

Nothing in the Pacific. Or the West. Or, uh, the Atlantic. The only game was Islanders-Hurricanes. I'm sure that was just thrilling, great job schedule makers this totally made sense for the third night of the season.

Saturday, October 11th

-Anaheim Ducks 3, Detroit Red Wings 2

-St. Louis Blues 4, Calgary Flames 1

-Arizona Coyotes 3, Los Angeles Kings 2 (OT): Okay so I didn't actually see this game. I feel bad for already missing the second game of the season (usually I end up missing maybe 2-3 games a year total so this is definitely a bad start), but it couldn't be helped. From everything I've read and heard, the Kings weren't particularly impressive in this one. They got out to a very early 2-0 lead, off of goals from Tanner Pearson just 1:32 into the game and Jeff Carter about ten minutes later, and seemed very content to just hang back from there. However the Coyotes tied the game up midway through the 2nd en route to outshooting LA 32-12 through the first two periods (including a pathetic 14-3 showing in the middle frame). The Kings turned things around a bit from there, managing to put up 11 shots to 6 from the Yotes in the 3rd, but ultimately a late penalty by Tyler Toffoli put the Kings away, as Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored the OT winner with just 14 seconds left to play. One point is better than zero, at least. (recap) (gamethread)

-Vancouver Canucks 5, Edmonton Oilers 4 (SO): I got home just in time from my previous engagement to see the 3rd period and overtime of this one, and that was a mild blessing because what I saw of this game was hilarious. In general the Canucks were getting the better of the play, but both teams looked incredibly sloppy in their own end and defending in the neutral zone, leading to what was basically constant end-to-end play that was very entertaining. The Oilers had leads throughout of 2-0, 3-1, and 4-2 before Vancouver finally roared back to tie it 7:06 into the 3rd period, with a power play goal scored by none other than Linden Vey. Vancouver scored two PPGs in the game (the other one from Vrbata again, giving him a very nice start to the season) to go with a PPG & a short-handed goal for the Oilers. Chris Higgins finally scored the only goal of the shootout to make it a clean sweep for the Canucks over their Alberta rivals.

Sunday, October 12th

-Los Angeles Kings 4, Winnipeg Jets 1: I made a rather simple request of the Kings before this game started, and thankfully they heeded my words. Tyler Toffoli had his first of the year less than seven minutes into the 1st, and that was quickly followed up by Anze Kopitar finding the back of the net after Jets starter Michael Hutchinson was unable to control the rebound from a Drew Doughty point shot. In the 3rd Tanner Pearson and Jeff Carter would each score their 2nd goal in less than 24 hours, continuing the hot start for the Kings' 2nd line with the borderline-clever name that you're probably also kinda sick of hearing. The Jets got one back thanks to Bryan Little, the only puck that would get past Martin Jones all night. Jones was quite great in this one, as the Jets used score effects to their advantage and had plenty of great opportunities that he turned away, ultimately stopping 29 of 30 shots. (recap) (gamethread)

This Week in Standings

Team GP W L OTL Points ROW GF GA Diff Home Away Last Week
1. San Jose 2 2 0 0 4 2 7 0 +7 1-0-0 1-0-0 2-0-0
2. Vancouver 2 2 0 0 4 1 9 6 +3 1-0-0 1-0-0 2-0-0
3. Anaheim 3 2 1 0 4 2 12 9 +3 0-0-0 2-1-0 1-1-0
4. Los Angeles 3 1 1 1 3 1 6 8 -2 1-1-0 0-0-1 1-1-1
5. Arizona 2 1 1 0 2 1 5 8 -3 1-1-0 0-0-0 1-1-0
6. Calgary 3 1 2 0 2 1 8 10 -2 0-1-0 1-1-0 1-2-0
7. Edmonton 2 0 1 1 1 0 6 10 -4 0-1-0 0-0-1 0-1-1

Ah yes, a fresh table of standings to kick off a new year. There's something almost liberating about that, no? Although even after just one week, the bottom of the table already looks correct, with the Coyotes, Flames, and Oilers bringing up the rear. On top are the Sharks because it's October so of course they are, but the Canucks have also gotten off to a good start already. The Ducks rebounded from their drubbing by the Penguins to win their next two, over the corpse of the Detroit Red Wings and the sub-AHL team from Buffalo (yes, I included that even though it's technically part of "next week", because whatever why not). The Kings are at least not buried down the standings by any stretch, which is obviously a good thing.

This Week in #fancystats

(all stats are total attempts, not percentages. thanks to extra skater war-on-ice.)

Sharks 4, Kings 0
Corsi: Kings 68-Sharks 58 (overall), Kings 56-Sharks 45 (5v5), Kings 25-Sharks 19 (5v5 close), Sharks 8-Kings 2 (5v5 tied)
Fenwick: Kings 53-Sharks 45 (overall), Kings 43-Sharks 34 (5v5), Kings 20-Sharks 13 (5v5 close), Sharks 5-Kings 2 (5v5 tied)
LA Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: King (+11), Williams (+10), Richards (+8). Worst: Carter (-5), Toffoli (-3), Gaborik (-1)
SJ Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Braun (+11), Vlasic (+10), Thornton (+5). Worst: Demers (-17), Burish/Hannan (tied, -15)

Coyotes 3, Kings 2 (OT)
Corsi: Coyotes 63-Kings 62 (overall), Kings 46-Coyotes 46 (5v5), Coyotes 40-Kings 39 (5v5 close), Kings 25-Coyotes 17 (5v5 tied)
Fenwick: Coyotes 53-Kings 40 (overall), Coyotes 41-Kings 28 (5v5), Coyotes 36-Kings 23 (5v5 close), Coyotes 16-Kings 15 (5v5 tied)
LA Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Toffoli (+8), Pearson/Clifford (tied, +7). Worst: Voynov (-9), Gaborik (-8), King (-7)
ARI Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Erat (+8), Klinkhammer (+7), Stone/Hanzal/Yandle (tied, +3). Worst: Vitale/Summers/Korpikoski (tied, -5)

Kings 4, Jets 1
Corsi: Kings 55-Jets 49 (overall), Kings 47-Jets 37 (5v5), Kings 10-Jets 6 (5v5 close), Kings 6-Jets 3 (5v5 tied)
Fenwick: Kings 45-Jets 41 (overall), Kings 39-Jets 34 (5v5), Kings 10-Jets 6 (5v5 close), Kings 6-Jets 3 (5v5 tied)
LA Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Doughty (+12), McNabb (+9), Gaborik/Williams (tied, +8). Worst: Regehr (-6), Voynov/Brown/Stoll (tied, -4)
WPG Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Scheifele/Wheeler (tied, +3), Lowry/Pardy (tied, +2). Worst: Little/Stuart (tied, -10), Ladd (-9)

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 10/13 10/14 10/15 10/16 10/17 10/18 10/19
LA - vs.EDM (7:30) - vs.STL (7:30) - - vs.MIN (Noon)
SJ - @WSH (4:00) - @NYI (4:00) - @NJ (4:00) @NYR (2:00)
VAN - - - - @EDM (6:30) vs.TB (7:00) -
ANA @BUF (W 5-1) @PHI (4:00) - - vs.MIN (7:00) - vs.STL (5:00)
ARI - - vs.EDM (7:30) - - vs.STL (6:00) -
CGY - @NSH (5:00) @CHI (5:00) - @CBJ (4:00) - @WPG (4:00)
EDM - @LA (7:30) @ARI (7:30) - vs.VAN (6:30) - -

The Kings have just started a long six-game homestand. They'll host the Oilers, Blues, and Wild before wrapping it up by welcoming in the Sabres & Blue Jackets next week, then they'll be embarking on a five-game road trip mostly through the East. San Jose is about to leave for their own Eastern Conference road trip, starting with a Capitals team that's coming off a surprising 4-0 dismantling of the Boston Bruins (in Boston, no less) this past Saturday. For god knows what reason the Canucks are in the middle of a six-day break (already?!), as they won't play another game until they travel to Edmonton on Friday. Meanwhile, Anaheim wraps up their season-opening Eastern trip tomorrow in Philly before they finally get their home opener Friday night against Minnesota. Clayton Stoner and Dany Heatley will have tears in their eyes, I'm sure.

Just a two-game week for the Yotes as they host the Oilers and Blues, so they still will not have played a road game at the end of the week. Another scheduling quirk sees the Oilers up against all Pacific Division opponents- they'll still have yet to pay a game outside of the division at the end of the week. Finally, the Flames have a trip through mostly the Central (well, Central plus ex-pat Central I guess) to get through.

That's all for the first edition of TWIK. Don't forget that tonight's Jewelcast is at 6 pacific/9 eastern....actually you know what, by the time you get to the end of this it will probably be over, so go listen to the archived episode.