And here we go, the first blog of the year! Today the Kings played the Columbus Blue Jackets in a game that started off very well for the kings, and then got very sloppy. Coming into the game the kings were in 8th place in the West with 45 points and on a 5 – game losing streak, while Columbus was in 13th in the West with 43 points.
The Kings got off to a quick start with Anze Kopitar pulling off an amazing move to get into the offensive zone, then passing to captain Dustin Brown for the score (2:13). Also Drew Doughty got an assist. 7 minutes later the Kings were on a powerplay when Alec Martinez got his 3rd of the year (9:24) from Jack Johnson and Marco Sturm. Then at 15:54 in the first period the Kings scored their 3rd goal of the night as Drew Doughty shot a pass across the ice from the left circle to storming in Jarret Stoll for the easy one-timer.
End of 1st. Kings 3 – Jackets 0
Eight minutes into the second period the Jackets were on a powerplay when defenseman Jack Johnson sent a long pass to Marco Sturm at the Columbus end of the ice. Sturm and Stoll then had a 2 on 1 and Sturm passed across to Stoll who easily put it in for his second of the night (7:12). The Kings looked a new team from the previous 5 games until goaltender Jonathan Quick wanted to remind Kings fans of how Dan Cloutier used to play. Quick went to clear a puck slowly sliding towards his goal when he fanned on it and it slid under his legs. He dove back and it was close, but the puck did go in. (The play was reviewed). The goal at 13:30 was recorded to Matt Calvert of Columbus, his first of his career.
End of 2nd. Kings 4- Jackets 1
7 minutes into the 3rd Quick looked as if he had no clue how to play. Rick Nash of Columbus bolted in to the Kings offensive. Quick came out to challenge him, but obviously failed physics in high school as his momentum pushed him way out of the goal crease. Nash easily skated around the net and put the puck in to make it 4-2. The next goal from Columbus came on a 4 on 4 after Kopitar took a Roughing penalty (Yes, I said Kopitar) with Columbus’ Jared Boll, who is 3rd in the league in PM. Umberger of Columbus came skating into the Kings zone, passed it to Antoine Vermette down low, who then found a wide open Fedor Tyutin in the middle who put it away (10:58). It was Tyutin’s 3rd of the season. With four minutes left in the 3rd Michael Handzus won the draw. Justin Williams got the puck and passed it to Ryan Smyth in the middle who backhanded it past Garon for his 17th of the year and gave the Kings a little breathing room (16:29). With 3 minutes left Quick made another mistake trying to play the puck. Quick went out to get a puck dumped in by the Blue Jackets, but Quick and his horrible puck handling, lost it and Voracek passed it across the crease to Nash for his 2nd of the night (17:27). Columbus was pushing hard the last 3 minutes of the game until they got a bench minor for too many men on the ice with 1:36 left in the game. The jackets pulled their goalie to get 5 players on the ice, but a lob pass from Jack Johnson to Justin Williams for an empty net goal iced it. Final Score
Kings 6 – Jackets 4.
One thing I really want to talk about, especially after this game, is Quick’s ability to handle the puck. Quick is probably the worst puck handling goalie in the NHL. 3 of the goals by the Jackets could have easily been prevented if he had better puck handling skills. I wonder if this game will tip of Coach Murray that this is something Quick needs to work on? Other than the obvious mistakes, the Kings had a very well-played game.