Game 23; 15-6-2
LOS ANGELES – In the risk of sounding like a negative nelly, if you will, I had a sinking feeling that their Thursday night contest with the Devils wouldn’t be as easy for the Los Angeles Kings as some may have thought. Of course, in all fairness, the Kings did have difficult scoring against this same team in New Jersey last week and still won the game. Unfortunately, this time, the outcome was different.
My sinking feeling, believe or not, came after a first period where the Kings convincingly outshot New Jersey 14-2. On the surface, one would think that the team being vastly outshot would stand little to no chance of winning. As per an unfortunate theme thus far, the more the shots the Kings put up this year, the more difficulty they have scoring while their opponents score on just their fourth or fifth shot.
On Thursday, it was actually the sixth shot that the Devils opened the scoring on. Having been outplayed in the opening two frames, netminder Cory Schneider stood his ground (much like he did last week) and kept Los Angeles off the scoreboard.
Entering the third, the Kings had outshot the Devils 27-5 but it was the Devils who scored the first goal on their first shot of the period as forward Ryan Carter backhanded a relatively weak shot that found its way past Ben Scrivens for his third of the year.
What negativity can be said about Los Angeles’s trouble with capitalizing on their scoring chances is certainly made up for in resiliency. Just as a common of a theme this season, the Kings have shown on a regular basis that when they’re down, they’re not down for very long.
Just 1:05 after New Jersey opened the scoring, the Kings found themselves on a 2-on-1 courtesy of Anze Kopitar who was stopped by Schneider but a streaking Williams crash the net and potted the juicy rebound past the Marblehead, MA, native to tie the game. Whatever frustration was let out at Staples Center quickly turned to jubilation. The goal was Williams’s team-leading ninth while Dustin Brown helped out with the second assist.
The game remained tied until overtime. In the extra frame, most knew it would only be a matter of time before New Jersey’s leading scorer (and future Hall-of-Famer) Jaromir Jagr struck – and he wasted no more time.
At the 2:30 of the extra frame, Jagr took a pass in front from defenseman Marek Zdlicky, proceeded to wait until Scrivens went down and scored over top of the netminder to give the Devils their second OT victory in as many nights.
After making 34 saves, Cory Schneider was deservedly named the game’s first star with Anze Kopitar took home second-star honours with an assist and five shots followed by Matt Frattin, who rounded out the three-star selection, with three shots and a pair of hits.
At 0-for-2 and 0-for-4 respectively, both special teams units were nonexistent on this night. Then again, both can be said about the offenses of both teams as well.
While it can be deflating to lose a game despite outshooting the opposition 35-15, the Kings were able to salvage a hard-earned point. The end result may put a halt to their four-game winning streak but the overtime defeat does extend Los Angeles’s point streak to eight games, making their loss to Nashville back on the 2nd the only November game the Kings failed to register a point. Not a bad stat if you ask me.
Overall, it’s a disappointing loss but the Kings certainly didn’t let this one slip away. The effort was there and it was in full-force significantly outplaying the Devils through the first 40 minutes. Then, when the Devils did score, they may have thought they were out of the woods – but not so. The Kings quickly came back to tie and forcing overtime.
Aside from the loss itself and the lack of capitalization on their chances, it was a good game for the Kings – and let’s face it, the latter is as much a testament to the solid play of Cory Schneider than the Kings’s inability to score.
It’s onward and upward though as the Kings now look forward to a Saturday night tilt – and a good test – as they host the new-look Colorado Avalanche.