This Week in Kings (10/27/14)

The Kings won both their games and also some really funny stuff happened elsewhere in the Pacific. We'll get into all of it today so strap yourself in!

After a week that I think we can all agree was Not Fun, things were quite a bit better this past week here in Kings land. LA's break in the schedule from their 2-1 win against the Wild on Sunday October 19th till the game against Buffalo this past Thursday ended up being well-timed, giving all of us a few days to process the difficult situation that happened early last week. While I doubt few of us have forgotten what happened, by the time the Kings took the ice for the first time after the incident we were able to start putting it behind us. Thankfully the NHL stepped up with the suspension that has kept the offender away from the rink and out of the limelight, and the return of Jake Muzzin was a nice surprise that helped fill his spot in the lineup. Things got back to normal to a degree, though as I mentioned last week I hope you'll still carry your feelings forward with you.

Remember that even when incidents like last week's don't directly collide with our hockey bubble, abuse is still happening out there all the time. For instance, the reaction by many to the firing of popular CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi following several abuse allegations was quite disturbing and indicative of the way women who come forward are treated by the public at large (for more on that whole situation, I would highly recommend going back a few days through feminist critic Anne Theriault's Twitter timeline, as she explained it far more elegantly and thoughtfully than I could ever dream to). But with that said, we will be back to normal for the most part on this week's TWIK, so let's get into the past six days of the Pacific division (remembering that last week's covered eight days after it went up a day late).

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.)

Tuesday, October 21st

-Boston Bruins 5, San Jose Sharks 3

-Nashville Predators 4, Arizona Coyotes 3 (SO)

-Dallas Stars 6, Vancouver Canucks 3: The Canucks had gotten off to a 3-1-0 start to the season, though they were coming off their first loss against Tampa Bay, before they went into Dallas and got doubled up on by the Stars. Dallas capped off a 3-0 first period when Tyler Seguin scored his fifth goal (!) of the young campaign with just 43 seconds remaining in the frame. Then the Stars got off to an amazingly fast start in the 2nd, as Jamie Benn had his 4th goal of the year 48 seconds in, and Cody Eakin followed up with his 2nd just 29 seconds later. Suddenly Vancouver was staring at a 5-0 deficit with still almost 39 minutes to play. Ryan Miller was pulled following the 5th goal allowed (on just 13 shots against), and Eddie Lack fared a bit better, only allowing one more on 15 more shots from Dallas for the rest of the game. But this was clearly a game the Canucks would want to quickly forget moving forward, as they were soundly defeated for the Stars' first home win of the year.

-Tampa Bay Lightning 2, Calgary Flames 1 (OT): You have to feel for Calgary a little here, I think. The scrappy Flames play hard despite a severe lack of talent, and they held Tampa to just 22 shots for the game while preserving a lead on a very early 3rd period goal. But Valtteri Filppula was finally able to break through with 2:16 left to play in regulation, and in overtime Ondrej Palat scored after picking up a rebound from Anton Stralman's point shot that bounced off Karri Ramo's pads, roofing it over the prone goalie to give Tampa the victory.

Wednesday, October 22nd

-Edmonton Oilers 3, Washington Capitals 2: Hey, that's a winning streak for the Oilers! After going winless in their first five games (0-4-1), the Oilers followed up their 3-2 win against the Lightning on Monday with another 3-2 win at home against an Eastern Conference foe, despite being outshot 34-20. Give a huge credit to our old pal Ben Scrivens, as the Professor was definitely sharp in this one.

-Anaheim Ducks 4, Buffalo Sabres 1

Thursday, October 23rd

-Vancouver Canucks 4, St. Louis Blues 1: This was a good bounce-back game for the Canucks following that destruction in Dallas, as Nick Bonino broke a 1-1 tie a little less than five minutes into the 3rd (his second goal of the year), and Linden Vey added his 2nd of the season on the power play about seven minutes later. Vey was the benefit of some impressive passing by the Sedins, as they played catch below the goal line until the Blues fell asleep and let Henrik put it right onto Vey's tape almost directly in front of the goalie for an incredibly easy goal.

-Minnesota Wild 2, Arizona Coyotes 0

-Calgary Flames 5, Carolina Hurricanes 0: Woof, how bad are the freaking Hurricanes?! As I type this Carolina is the NHL's last remaining winless team (0-5-2 through 7 games), and their effort in this game against Calgary can best be described as pathetic. They somehow mustered just sixteen shots-on-goal. Yes, sixteen. Against the Calgary Flames. In a game where they trailed for almost 42 minutes, and trailed by 3 goals for more than 35. When you can't even muster twenty shots against the Calgary Flames in a heavily score effected game, well, I'm not quite sure what that says about your team except "you are very very very bad". The Sabres have some heavy competition in the Connor McDavid Derby, folks.

-Los Angeles Kings 2, Buffalo Sabres 0: Hey, transition! Speaking of the Sabres, they were in Staples to face the Kings and were also shutout, though unlike Carolina they managed to put a far more respectable 29 shots-on-goal at least. Jonathan Quick turned them all aside though en route to picking up his 33rd career shutout, breaking Rogie Vachon's franchise record (though as Quick himself was quick to point out after the game, he still actually trails Vachon's 51 career shutouts, as Vachon had another 19 with the Canadiens, Red Wings, and Bruins). That's not to take anything away from Quick though, who deserves the franchise record and has played supremely well to start this regular season. He currently has a .953 sv% in seven starts, with an even more impressive .963 even-strength sv%. But maybe the biggest difference so far is his save percentage while his team was shorthanded: last year he had just a .862 sv% in shorthanded situations, while so far this year he has a .913 in that category (just 4 goals allowed on 46 shots against). Given the number of penalties the Kings tend to take, keeping that number above where it was last year would be a huge help to his overall sv%, and it's worth noting that the shorthanded save percentages tend to fluctuate a lot more year-to-year than even strength ones do. (recap) (gamethread)

-Columbus Blue Jackets 5, San Jose Sharks 4: Hahaha where to start with this one? Okay, so the Sharks got out to an early 2-0 lead following goals from Adam Burish (yes, THAT Adam Burish) and Joe Pavelski. The Jackets roared back in the 2nd to score 3 unanswered goals, including two by Mark Letestu and Future King Ryan Johansen that were just 1:23 apart. In the 3rd, the Sharks answered back with two unanswered goals of their own from Pavelski (again) and 'ol horse face Logan Couture and once again found themselves in the lead. The Jackets tied it on a power play goal by Nick Foligno a little more than halfway through the period, and then things got really crazy. First, Ryan Johansen put one past Antti Niemi with just 1:18 left to play to score the apparent game-winner and his first career hat trick, but the goal was quickly waived off on a questionable goalie interference call. Yes, the Sharks got a huge break (and to be fair to them, they had, by my rough estimate, about a zillion of these calls go against them last year, so maybe it was hockey karma) and looked to at least be getting a point out of this wacky game. Except with 21 seconds left the Blue Jackets scored again, as Scott Hartnell fired a cross-ice pass to Mark Letestu in the offensive zone and Letestu then somehow got the puck to David Savard along the point despite no less than three Sharks surrounding him. Savard fired a shot from there that Letestu redirected past Niemi for what was really their second game-winner of the night, and the Sharks were right back to getting the zero points they probably deserved. I guess that would be the better definition of hockey karma, come to think of it. Or maybe the Sharks are just bad at defending, who knows.

Friday, October 24th

-Colorado Avalanche 7, Vancouver Canucks 3: I didn't see a second of this game, but holy crap Vancouver, you lost 7-3 to the Avalanche?! If you haven't been paying attention, the Avs are, if anything, even worse than most of us stat nerds predicted they'd be to start the season so far. Yikes. Somehow Toronto West actually outshot the Canucks 48-29, too. Not Good.

-Edmonton Oilers 6, Carolina Hurricanes 3: Just How Bad Are the Carolina Hurricanes, Part 2. Yes, even though I'm sure almost everyone on the planet had this date marked down as Carolina's first win of the season, instead Edmonton had their third straight victory. Okay then.

-Anaheim Ducks 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 1

Saturday, October 25th

-Buffalo Sabres 2, San Jose Sharks 1: Hahahahahaha. Just when you thought that.....thing against Columbus was San Jose's absolute nadir of the week, they lost, at home, in regulation, to the Buffalo Sabres. Well, at least it wasn't the Hurricanes? I guess? Hashtag Shorks.

-Arizona Coyotes 2, Florida Panthers 1 (OT): I bet the Coyotes were thinking "hey! we just barely beat the FLORIDA PANTHERS at home, in overtime! we're going to Disneyland!". I know I would be.

-Washington Capitals 3, Calgary Flames 1

Sunday, October 26th

-Los Angeles Kings 5, Columbus Blue Jackets 2: Okay, first things first: Columbus forward Nick Foligno suffered a horrific-looking fluke collision during the 3rd period, as his head collided with what looked like the hip of linesman Shaney Heyer as he and Carter were jostling along the boards. Foligno's neck seemed to twist an extremely unnatural way upon impact, and he remained prone on the ice for a long time as he was very carefully stretchered out. It's a scene no one ever wants to see. Thankfully, it sounds like Foligno is going to be okay, and that's obviously great news. He wasn't even the only player to leave yesterday's game with an injury though, as Anze Kopitar left the game midway through the 2nd period following an awkward collision with Columbus defenseman Tim Erixon. Anyway, the Kings are being typically dodgy on how serious the injury to Kopitar actually is. There's some reason for optimism (Darryl Sutter I think said "he's alright" about fifty times following the game) but also Anze's answer to Rich Hammond: "I'll be alright, eventually.", does make it sound like he could miss at least a game or two. Which is definitely not the worst possible outcome to "Anze Kopitar leaves a game with an injury", for sure. Oh yeah, so the actual game. The line with the stupid name scored a bunch of goals again and the Kings finished off a perfect 6-0-0 homestand for the first time in their history. Hurray. (recap) (gamethread)

-San Jose Sharks 4, Anaheim Ducks 1: Bwahahahaha. Okay, let's be brief: the Ducks had won seven straight, the Sharks had lost four straight, so of course the Sharks were going to win this game (and, in hindsight, it was so easily predictable any idiot could have called it). The Sharks scored a bunch of goals pretty early on and so the Ducks did what the Ducks are always going to do in that situation: make the game a compete and utter embarrassment to the entire sport of hockey. Yay! On the bright side, some sick burns were landed, so that's nice at least. Oh and Randy Hahn was such an annoying piece of crap during this game I felt bad for cheering for the Sharks (or, uh, worse than I would have anyway). But I'm sure that still wasn't as bad as whatever fresh hell was probably happening on the Ducks' broadcast. Yeah. Let's just all try to forget this ever happened, I guess.

-Vancouver Canucks 4, Washington Capitals 2

This Week in Standings

Team GP W L OTL Points ROW GF GA Diff Home Away Last Week
1. Anaheim 9 7 2 0 14 6 30 19 +11 4-1-0 3-1-0 2-1-0
2. Los Angeles 8 6 1 1 13 5 22 12 +10 6-1-0 0-0-1 2-0-0
3. Calgary 10 5 4 1 11 4 26 22 +4 1-2-1 4-2-0 1-1-1
4. San Jose 10 5 4 1 11 4 32 28 +4 1-2-0 4-2-1 1-3-0
5. Vancouver 8 5 3 0 10 4 27 26 +1 2-1-0 3-2-0 2-2-0
6. Arizona 7 3 3 1 7 3 18 25 -7 3-2-0 0-1-1 1-1-1
7. Edmonton 8 3 4 1 7 3 23 32 -9 3-2-0 0-2-1 2-0-0

The Ducks stay on top after a 2-1-0 week, but the Kings are nipping right at their heels following their 2-0-0 finish to their six-game homestand, just one point back with a game in hand. Calgary put up the fence week of 1-1-1, but that was still enough for them to tie San Jose for third in the division after the Sharks went 1-3-0 (they're listed ahead of them just like the Kings were last week despite no discernible tiebreaker being used: some might say it's alphabetical, but I like either my theories of "listed by most Cups won" or "listed by which team has the most current captains" better). Vancouver remains a point behind both of them after a 2-2-0 week, though they do have two games in hand on both teams. The Yotes also put up the fence week and now find themselves in a tie for last with the Oilers, who went 2-0-0 in the last six days (3-0-0 if you count Monday), which was probably their most successful week in about eight years.

This Week in #fancystats

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

Kings 2, Sabres 0
Corsi: Kings 77-Sabres 47 (overall), Kings 68-Sabres 38 (5v5), Kings 42-Sabres 21 (5v5 close), Kings 1-Sabres 0 (5v5 tied)
Fenwick: Kings 60-Sabres 40 (overall), Kings 51-Sabres 33 (5v5), Kings 28-Sabres 19 (5v5 close), Kings 1-Sabres 0 (5v5 tied)
LA Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Brown (+21), Kopitar (+19), King (+17). Worst: Richards (-1), Nolan/Stoll (tied, even)
BUF Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Foligno/Stewart (tied, -1), Ristolainen/McCormick (tied, -2). Worst: Ennis/Gorges (tied, -20), Moulson (-19)

Kings 5, Blue Jackets 2
Corsi: Kings 57-Blue Jackets 47 (overall), Kings 50-Blue Jackets 38 (5v5), Kings 31-Blue Jackets 22 (5v5 close), Kings 23-Blue Jackets 18 (5v5 tied)
Fenwick: Kings 43-Blue Jackets 38 (overall), Kings 39-Blue Jackets 30 (5v5), Kings 24-Blue Jackets 18 (5v5 close), Kings 19-Blue Jackets 15 (5v5 tied)
LA Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Carter (+15), Pearson/Richards (tied, +14). Worst: Stoll (-13), Andreoff (-7), Brown (-6)
CBJ Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Prout (+13), Letestu (+8), Wisniewski (+6). Worst: Tyutin (-25), Savard (-17), Johansen (-16)

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 10/27 10/28 10/29 10/30 10/31 11/1 11/2
LA - @PHI (4:00) - @PIT (4:00) @DET (4:30) - @CAR (2:00)
ANA - @CHI (5:30) - @STL (5:00) @DAL (5:30) - @COL (5:00)
CGY - vs.MTL (6:00) - - vs.NSH (6:00) - @MTL (4:00)
SJ - @COL (6:00) - @MIN (5:00) - vs.NYI (7:30) -
VAN - vs.CAR (7:00) - vs.MTL (7:00) - @EDM (7:00) vs.NSH (6:30)
ARI - @TB (4:30) - @FLA (4:30) - @CAR (4:00) -
EDM vs.MTL (6:30) - vs.NSH (7:00) - - vs.VAN (7:00) -

With our perfect six-game homestand now a thing of the past, the Kings will embark on a five-game road trip, with four of those five dates taking place this week against the Eastern Conference (it then wraps up in Dallas next Tuesday). The Flyers are kind of a tire fire so far, especially on defense, but the Penguins and Red Wings back-to-back won't exactly be a picnic. The Kings do get to wrap up their week against the worst team in hockey who will be on the second night of a back-to-back, so pencil us in for a loss on Sunday I guess. Meanwhile, the Ducks also have four games all on the road coming up, as they'll be in Chicago tomorrow, have an even more difficult mid-week back-to-back against St. Louis and Minnesota, and finish off the week in Colorado.

Hey, here's a scheduling quirk: the Calgary Flames will play two games with the Montreal Canadiens this week, in both Calgary and Montreal. Maybe the NHL schedule-maker had the 1989 Stanley Cup Final on in the background that day, who knows. San Jose will play in Colorado tomorrow before taking on a pair of trendy "maybe ready to take the next step" teams: at Minnesota on Thursday and back home against the Islanders on Saturday (in a game that's nationally televised on NBCSN for, uh, some reason).

The Canucks start off their week by hosting Carolina tomorrow and if they're the ones who finally give the Hurricanes their first win of the season I may never stop laughing. They also have home dates with the Canadiens and Predators sandwiched around the only divisional game of the week, at Edmonton for the late Hockey Night in Canada game on Saturday. If you can't get enough hot Coyotes-Panthers action, you're in luck, as they'll play for the second time in five days on Thursday, this time in South Florida, as the Yotes are on an Eastern Conference road trip of their own. Finally, the Oilers conclude their own six-game homestand this week against the Canadiens, Predators, and Canucks, and they have a chance to match the Kings since they've already started it 3-0-0. Except really, they don't, because, y'know, they're the Oilers. Yeah.

That's all for this week. Be sure to check back later tonight, as we'll bring you another edition of the Jewelcast with special guests Jason Lewis (@SirJDL), Kings blogger for HockeyBuzz, and Derek/The Neutral/the guy who runs @fearthefin, Sharks blogger for, uh, Fear the Fin. Sounds like a fun time, right? It'll come to you at 6:30 pacific/9:30 eastern, and all you have to do to tune in is head right on back to the Jewels front page where we'll have it linked right at the top. See you then!