Game 3; 1-2-0
LOS ANGELES – After a long-anticipated home-opener finally arrived, it’s as if the Los Angeles Kings were missing something. Whatever that something was, the New York Rangers took advantage, defeating the Kings by a score of 3-1 to earn their first win of the season.
With the loss, Los Angeles drops to 1-2-0 on the year and should they hope to rebound on Wednesday night against Ottawa, they will need a better defensive performance. With that said, I hold no reservations in giving the Blueshirts their due credit. After all, they were off for four days so whoever thought rust would play a factor were mistaken.
The Rangers opened the scoring at the 13:32 mark of the opening frame as Brad Richards capitalized on what looked like a defensive meltdown by the Kings with only Jonathan Quick trying his darndest to keep the puck out of harm’s way. Richards’s first of the year was assisted by Rick Nash and Derek Stepan.
At 10:46 of the second, it was Brad Richards again backhanding his second of the night past Quick to give New York the 2-0 lead. But just a minute-and-a-half later, Jake Muzzin’s first got Los Angeles on the board with a slapshot from the point. Mike Richards assisted on the goal.
The highlight – or, more accurately, the lowlight – of the evening came at the 4:39 mark of the third when the Rangers were shorthanded. In the New York zone, Ryan McDonagh, who was simply attempting to clear the puck out of harm’s way, took a weird bounce down the ice that put Jonathan Quick out of position and the end result: a shorthanded goal for the Rangers.
A bad break such as this would deflate the hopes of any team and unfortunately, the case of the Los Angeles Kings on this night was no exception.
In the shots department, it was fairly even the whole night as the Kings outshot the Rangers 29-28. Even Willie Mitchell was the exception to a shoddy defensive performance by the home side as he was named the game’s third star.
It certainly wasn’t Kings fans hoped for their team’s season-opener but they are rightfully confident that the silver-and-black will bounce back on Wednesday when the aforementioned Senators pay a visit to Staples Center with a familiar foe – one Bobby Ryan – in tow.
As for Quick’s gaffe, more on that later.