Kopitar's hat trick almost overshadowed

Game 10: Kings 5, Stars 4 (OT)

The game was shaping up to be a coming out party. Ever since Anze Kopitar entered the league with high expectations, Kings fans have been waiting for him to turn it on and live up to the hype. On Thursday, Kopitar officially arrived when he tallied his first NHL hat trick. I believe it was the first hat trick for the Kings since Ladislav Nagy potted three against the Blackhawks in 2008.

However, the mood turned somber when the Stars made a late run in the third period to tie up the game. Some of the blame goes to the entire team, as they got sloppy and forgot just how dangerous the Stars can be. But Jonny (Don't Call Me Jonathon) Quick received the lion's share of the blame, especially from Terry Murray.

Since Justin Williams was out of the lineup, due to the dreaded "lower body" injury he sustained in practice Thursday, the re-jiggered lines were effective, at least for the first 40 minutes. Simmonds playing on the top line wiith Kopitar and Smyth played exceedingly well, and Brown shifted over to the Frolov and Handzus line allowed him to add two assists. And Frolov had himself a two assist night, just like I said he would.

A win is a win is a win, but I can't stop from feeling a little uneasy about the Kings victory. The lack of killer instinct almost cost them the game, and with the exception of Kopitar, not one other player stepped up to make their presence really noticable. Quick should've been t guy, but his brain farts in the third almost proved to be the team's downfall.

The other thing I found telling was Murray's admitting that playing Ersberg instead of a hot Quick was a mistake. It shows a willingness on Murray's part to perhaps not muck about with the team too much.

Granted, Quick almost lost the game for the Kings on Thursday, but he has proven himself to be the number one goalie, and he needs to find his way and focus on the task at hand to be able to grow as a player. Murray also let Ersberg know that if he doesn't step it up, he won't be getting in any time soon. So it's Quick's team now. Let's hope he can bring it together and not disappoint in his second season at the helm.

• AP: Handzus scores in overtime for Kings
    “It was a good game, right, then the good old Kings came out in the third with a three-goal lead and starting sitting back, waiting for them to come,” Kopitar said. “We cant play like that.”
• L.A. Times: Michal Handzus wins it for Kings in OT
    It shouldn't have been this difficult. But even after adding skill and grit the Kings are still the Kings, in many ways, and no gain comes easily to them.
• Yahoo: Thursday's Three Stars: Kopitar plays trick and treat
    Kopitar has eight goals, one short of league leaders Alexander Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk(notes), who are tied at nine apiece. The Kings, winners in overtime, are 5-1 this season and 44-22-8 overall when Kopitar (five shots, 22:09 of ice time) scores a goal.
• Yahoo: Team report
    The Kings earned two points the hard way. Seemingly in control, with a 4-1 lead after two periods, the Kings allowed the Stars to get back in the game. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick had a rough third period, as he allowed three goals on four shots, including the game-tying goal with 2:46 remaining, but Michal Handzus scored 55 seconds into overtime to lift the Kings.
• LA Kings Insider: Kopitar postgame quotes
    “It feels great. It almost didn’t feel great, the way the game ended, but we got two points and that’s the most important thing I guess, right now. We have to look forward and maybe forget the last period of this one and just keep going forward.”
• LAKings.com:  Kings beat Stars 5-4 in overtime

They said it
    "The goalie needs to be better. Who's kidding who here? Everybody sees the puck going into the net, on shots where he's getting a clear look. He's going down early. He's starting to maybe guess a little bit in those situations, and he's just got to toughen up." – Kings head coach Terry Murray, talking about the performance of Jonny Quick.
Around the Kingdom

• The Throne Room: The Good Overcomes the Bad, and There Was a Lot of Bad
    Wayne Simmonds’ goal was a thing of beauty too. You knew the guy had some offensive skill, but who knew he had hands like that? I think Simmonds is going to be a very good two way forward in the NHL for a long time, but that move makes one wonder if maybe he isn’t fit for a top-6 type role?
• LAKingsnews.com: Kopitar's hat trick shines brightest
    In his rookie year, Anze Kopitar’s play started a hockey religion. A zealous fan gathered “disciples” and began the Kopitarian following. Number 11 stormed the league. His faithful did all but graffiti his image throughout Los Angeles…or did they?
• The Royal Half: On the Road with the Kings.. Kinda
    The only thing sadder than the Kings nearly losing this game by giving up 3 3rd period goals is the Kings broadcast crew trying to make some traction out of memorable Kings moments during the Staples Center's 10 year anniversary.
•  Caligiuri's Corner: The NHL Bench Culture
    Although a great thirst quencher after competition – Gatorade is tough to drink during competition. It brings on diarrhea or nausea to some. (Ed. note: Who knew? Another interesting blog about some observations behind the bench. Just don't let Gatorade hear you say that... LOL)
From across the aisle, the Dallas viewpoint

• DallasNews.com: Dallas Stars' latest thrill ride ends in 5-4 OT loss
    The Dallas Stars have moved on from the roller coaster and seem to be trying out new amusement park rides every night.
• Defending Big D: Stars Third Period Rally Keeps Road Point Streak Alive
    Strange things always seem to happen when the Stars play the Kings at the Staples Center. And tonight was no different as the Kings raced out to a 4-1 lead behind Anze Kopitar's hat trick and a litany of poor defensive play in front of Alex Auld, who wasn't able to bail his mates out, after 40 minutes.
• HF Boards: Game 10: vs Los Angeles, 10/22
    Caseman: On the bright side, if the Kings didn't have one hand cupping the refs balls, the Stars would have won in regulation.
    Studly Wonderbomb: "This has been cranial flatulation from the zebras tonight." - Daryl Reaugh Who else heard him say that?
    Knee Seeking Scud: Dallas may of lost the game in OT but i was really impressed with their determination when they we up against the wall. I love Kings fans on their forum saying that the Benn and last Neal goal would of been stopped by a large group of good goalies. Those goals were perfectly placed and i doubt many goalies could of saved those rockets.
Peeping the dailies


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