Doughty serves notice as the Kings beat the Avs
Game 70: Kings 4, Avalanche 3
O.K., the Kings have won two games in a row... 12 games left in the regular season. No sign of relief from other teams, who continue to charge hard in the Western Conference toward the playoffs.
Nothing is certain in Hockeywood, especially in March, where these young Kings find themselves on the cusp of making the postseason for the first time since 2002. And just when you think you have a bead on what's going on, everything changes.
For example, the Kings were clamping down on the Avs defensively. Colorado's Chris Stewart threw the puck toward the net, and Frederik Modin' stick accidentally re-directed it past a surprised Quick and into the net. Avs, 1-0.
Jonathan Quick had a horrible lapse of judgment, when he passed the puckdirectly to an Avalanche player, who completely whiffed his chance tomake it 2-0.
Ryan Smyth scored on the power play on a nifty tic-tac-toe play started by Anze Kopitar, and the game shifted back in the Kings' favor. In the second period, Wayne Simmonds scored on a backhand while skated from behind the net, and the Kings headed into the third period with the lead, one felt that the Kings would wrap this one up nice and neat.
But then Colorado tied it on a Peter Mueller goal early in the third, and fans started to wonder if the Kings record of going into the last period with the lead would stand.
Ryan Smyth scored his second of the game, and it looked like the Kings were on their way to wrapping it up. But when Colorado's T.J. Galiardi tied the game with 10 seconds left on the clock, the arena was deflated.
The teams went to overtime and the Kings were gift-wrapped a power play, when Ruslan Salei cross-checked Justin Williams. The teams regrouped, as Jamie Kompon drew up the play. Originally, it was supposed to be set up for Jarrett Stoll, but Drew Doughty had other plans.
Drew carried the puck in, gave up the puck to Stoll, then skated toward the middle of the ice. Stoll passed it back to Doughty, who wound up and BLASTED the bejeezus out of the puck, smoking it past Craig Anderson and poor Ryan Smyth, who only heard the sound of death rocket behind him. STAPLES erupted, game over, good night and don't forget to tip your Red Coat.
How good is Doughty? He's now third in the league for points by a defenseman, sixth in assists and third in goals. You know my feelings of Doughty for the Norris. he cannot be denied. He has to be in the conversation and get some serious consideration.
It would've been an exciting game, if this had been December. But this is March, and the teams should be zeroing in on their game, fine-tuning things heading into the postseason. It seems the Kings are aware that the playoffs are a distinct possibility, and maybe have gotten a little sloppy.
I look at the standings daily now, as the shuffle continues to confound me. If the playoffs started today, they would play San Jose (What. The. ?!?) Phoenix, a team that was all left for dead, has ridden a nine-game win streak to the top of the Pacific, while the stacked Sharks have hit a six-game losing streak. The Kings may have 89 points, but the 8th place Red Wings have 85.
Barring a complete meltdown, the Kings are well-positioned. The only thing that is certain is it's not going to get easier.
• AP: Doughty’s slap shot leads Kings past Avs in OT
Although Drew Doughty wasn’t really supposed to shoot the puck during that overtime power play, even the Los Angeles Kings’ coaches were grateful their rising star defenseman decided to wrap up two important playoff points with one fierce slap shot.• LA Times: Drew Doughty lifts Kings in overtime, 4-3
Every game has been big for a while, but the Kings hadn't played them with the intensity that got them this far. Their post-Olympic slide stirred unpleasant memories of past seasons' swoons, and Tim Leiweke, the Kings' governor and second-in-command to owner Phil Anschutz, acknowledged he was anxious about the team's mind-set.• LA Kings: Just Drew It!
``It is gut-check time now, and it is important that we fight through adversity. Whether you are behind a goal or up a goal, you've got to come to play. This is the fun time of the year. We want to make it to the postseason and we will see what happens from here.’’• NHL.com: Doughty's OT tally gives Kings 4-3 win
With the victory, the Kings move into a tie with Nashville for fifth place in the Western Conference with 89 points. The Avalanche remain in seventh place with 87 points, two ahead of Detroit.They said it
“If I actually told you how the play was drawn up on the board, you’d be upset at him shooting the puck. [laughs] But he read the play. That was not the designed play that we talked about, but it was a great read on his part, because their forward took away Stoll. They were looking for him to get the puck back for the one-timer, and he’s got a reputation for being able to score from that side. They cheated on it, they stayed in front of Stolly, and that’s a good read by Doughty.” - Terry Murray, on Doughty's overtime goal.
“This is a big two points. They battled hard right until the end, and they capitalized with six seconds left. We capitalized on our power play, which was big tonight. I thought special teams were the difference tonight." - Ryan Smyth, on the win
“Obviously it was pretty disappointing. We can’t be letting those goals in late in the game like that. The last minute of periods are very important, and especially the third period. So getting that win was huge, but a little disappointing that we gave them that point.” - Drew Doughty, on getting two points after giving up the late goalAround the Kingdom
• The Royal Half: Bench Players
A solid win from the Kings. Of course, you wish that the Avalanche didn't get the bonus point, but the Kings keep pace with the West in their new found quest to face the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the playoffs. Thanks Phoenix! But let's be serious here... you didn't come to The Royal Half to get thoughtful analysis of the victory tonight... you came for screengrabs of Anze Kopitar Kings Spotlight Night! So here ends the analysis... but starts the pretty pictures... (Ed. note: Hilarious stuff, check it)• LA Kings News: Now that was a hockey game; Kings beat Avs in OT
Let me see what I can recall from this crucial 4-3 overtime win against the stinky, ugly, fast, tenacious and talented Avalanche.
• Jewels From the Crown: Drewwww; Kings 4, Avalanche 3 (OT)LETS GO KI-INGS! Clap clap, clapclapclap.
… REF YOU SUCK!
There’s your game in a nutshell. A loud, intense and much needed sweet nutshell.
Let's not forget the breakdown of the Kings final shift of regulation where T.J. Galiardi scored with just six seconds left on the clock. Uhhhh, that was bad. Letting the Aves move in for a final rush was a bit lazy on their part, but it's necessary to nitpick at these shortfalls.From across the aisle, the Colorado viewpoint
• Denver Post: Avs lose in OT, but Galiardi saves point
"We're happy with the point, but it's disappointing that it ended up a loss in OT," said Galiardi . "We battled most of the game, and it was a huge extra point."• All Things Avs: What was Salei thinking?????
Not only when T.J. Galiardi scored the most clutch goal of the season to that point, tying the game up in the final seconds, but when Ruslan Salei promptly wiped out all the hard work of his team with one stupid move.• Mile High Hockey: The Kings Beat Avalanche In Barn Burner 4-3 In Overtime
Wow. Talk about a complete roller coaster of emotions. I was up and down so many times in this game. Unfortunately it ended on quite a low. The positive is that the Avs were at least able to salvage a point out of this game.Peeping the dailies