BlogNation: Kings snatch third victory in shootout

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 11: (L-R) Goaltender Erik Ersberg #31, Matt Greene #2 and Wayne Simmonds #17 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrate their team's 3-2 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars at Staples Center on November 11, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)GAME 14: Kings 3, Stars 2 (shootout)

If the Kings keep winning with Ersberg in goal, I'm going to have to change my opinion about him. With Tuesday night's victory over the Stars, Ersberg has a 1.93 GAA through six games, and a save percentage over 90 percent, just behind Anaheim's J.S. Giguere.

And although he may be hovering around the midpoint for all NHL goaltenders stat-wise, his steady presence in the pipes can not be denied on the team's mindset.

The scoring is coming around now, with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown with 3-game point streaks. Drew Doughty continues to impress, leading the team in ice time three of the last five games.

Could it be that this team may be coming together this early and make a move toward the playoffs? As much as I hate quoting stats like this so early in the season, the Kings are three points out of the 8 seed. One thing is for certain, this team is certainly fun to watch.

• AP:  Kings beat Stars 3-2 in shootout

• LA Times: Kings' Dustin Brown leads the way to third win in a row
"It's given us confidence and teaching us what we need to do to grind out wins," team captain Dustin Brown said after he extended his personal goal-scoring streak to three games.
• Daily News: Kings beat Dallas in shootout
Dustin Brown had a big game with a couple of big hits, but was penalized for a five-minute major boarding call after a hit against Mike Ribeiro - which drew blood - at the boards. Ribeiro had swung around to shoot with one minute left.

"The hit probably was magnified by the fact that the boards were there," said Brown. "If they weren't there, I don't think it would have been an issue. It was a call they felt they had to make."
• Yahoo: Kings team report
Statisticians at NHL games are typically fickle, but if they came close to getting it right Tuesday, the Kings and Stars put on quite a show. The Kings were credited with 36 hits, the Stars with 30.
Looking through purple-hued glasses

• The Royal Half: Third time's a charm
The Kings looked strong throughout the entire game and for once, just once, it seemed that the 11,000 or so people at Staples Center were positive that in the final 5 minutes of the game and into overtime... the Kings were NOT going to give up a goal. That my friends is called confidence. The confidence that a goaltender named Erik Ersberg has brought to this team.
• A Queen Among Kings: Oh Captain, My Captain

With everyone gushing over Drew Doughty, I feel I need to add to it. He can't be 18 years old; he just can't. He looks so good out there and he's working so well with Sean O'Donnell that he couldn't have been playing with teenage boys a few months ago. That being said, with the way this boy is playing, there is not enough adoration being sent his way. We Kings fans can get on our knees and thank the Defensive Hockey Gods for sending him our way, but that's not going to get his name out there any faster. It's too bad that he has to get points in order to get some national attention, but that's okay! His job is to help the Kings get better and, on a nightly basis, he's not disappointing. Gush, gush, gush.

• Inside Hockey: Goalie or Godot

Ersberg’s slight size doesn’t mean he plays like a kid, however. His mobility is good, and his style, while honed in the European tradition, almost looks throwback in a way. That is, he’s not big enough just to go down on every shot and count on his equipment to make the save for him. Instead, he has to move, and watching him play, you think of some kind of a cross between a nervous terrier and a flea. None of that is meant at all as a criticism. Rather, he is throwback in the sense that he plays an athletic game, not a purely technical. And as long as that works, it’s a lot more fun to watch than a Michelin Man on his knees letting his enormous pads do his job for him, for my money.

• The Kingsternet: Kings Poised For Quantum Leap
As one of the youngest teams in the league the Kings can afford a slow start. At this point the Kings find themselves only a handful of points out of a playoff spot with games in hand on most of the teams in front of them. Assuming that Ersberg can continue his solid play of the past week there's no reason the Kings can't find themselves in 8th place or higher.
From the other side of the ice: The Dallas view

• Dallas Morning News: Dallas Stars' Morrow might sit after shootout loss
"(The Kings are) a young team here, but they're disciplined, and they play the system well," Morrow said. "The same thing with Phoenix. We've got our work cut out for us."
• Five for Fighting: Ready to play?
I'm asking, because it doesn't look like the Stars are... what a lackluster first period by these guys, and it shows on the scoreboard. Actually, probably fortunate to be down only one goal considering their ho-hum approach.
• Dallas Stars Hockey Analysis: Another complete give away
Just a poor effort by the Stars all around, who are lucky to get a point from the hapless and absolutely pathetic Los Angeles Kings. We failed in our goal to give up 5 to every team this year, but they’ll have another shot at it Thursday here in Dallas.
• Andrew's Dallas Stars blog: Kings-Stars thoughts
On the Dustin Brown hit, I didn’t think it was a particularly dirt hit but Mike Ribeiro was in a vulnerable position when Brown caught him. Things are happening pretty fast out there, so it’s not easy to just say Brown should have done this or done that. Ribeiro was close to the boards, went into them violently and that’s going to lead to a penalty. It doesn’t mean it was dirty.
Kings-related news

• ESPN's EJ Hradek: Kings' numbers (not Wings) impressing me
The Kings are allowing the fewest shots per game. Let me repeat that: The Kings are allowing the fewest shots per game. So far, through 13 games, the Kings have kept opponents to an average of just 24.2 shots. By contrast, last season, they surrendered the third most shots (32.0). I know it's early, but that's a significant turnaround. New coach Terry Murray and his staff seem to be connecting with their young group.
• LA Times: Dustin Brown is a hit on and off the ice
A Brown hit is hard to miss. There's the sound of a body being pounded against the boards, followed by primal screams from Kings fans at Staples Center. Brown skates away, often with the victim in tow, chirping at him.
• LA Times: Kings' curiosity lands Kyle Quincey in L.A.
Kings Coach Terry Murray was curious to see what was lacking in defenseman Kyle Quincey's game....
Murray is still looking, but not finding anything.
Weekly power rankings

• ESPN: After two-week hiatus, Kings ranked at 22

• Yahoo: Kings climb to 23

• TSN: Leap five spots to 23

• Hockey News: Kings hold steady at 28 (?)

Upon further review

Here's the monster hit Dustin Brown laid on Jussi Jokinen.




Here's the ensuing fracas between the two captains, Brown and Morrow, after Brown checked poor Mike Ribeiro into the boards, causing his head to split open.




Here's that awesome shootout goal by Ribeiro. Should it be allowed?



Finally, here's that awesome leap by Doughty, to keep the puck in play.
 

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