A few things from the postgame scrum…
– There will be a lot more debate about the Kings’ goaltending situation after Dan Cloutier allowed four goals tonight, even though it’s hard to classify any of them as being truly awful goals. The first two were mostly the results of defensive breakdowns in front of the net and Cloutier got burned a couple times by deflections. The bad news? He allows a ton of juicy rebounds and just plain looked out of position a few times. More bad news? Four goals are four goals, and that won’t help his confidence a ton. Worse news? After the morning skate, Marc Crawford was asked what he looked at in evaluating goalies, since numbers often don’t tell the story. His answer? “I look at the numbers.” Well, at this point Cloutier’s numbers look a bit different from Mathieu Garon’s numbers, don’t they?
– The PK unit, which had been outstanding of late, took a hit tonight. The game winner came in a 4 on 3 situation, which is tough to defend, but also, the tying goal came just a few seconds after a penalty expired. Plus, there wasn’t much to the Penguins’ power play. A lot of puck movement but not a lot of scoring chances generated.
– Sidney Crosby seemed to get a generous call in overtime when Mattias Norstrom went off for diving. Norstrom sat in the dressing room after the game and accepted blame. TV replays can be deception but it looked iffy.
– Dustin Brown’s game has taken a notable upturn recently. He wasn’t really around after the game tonight but I’ll try to get to him tomorrow and get his thoughts. On the other end of the spectrum, Patrick O’Sullivan got put back into the lineup but got only 14 shifts, one more than grinder Tom Kostopoulos. Not every NHL rookie can adapt as fast as Anze Kopitar has, but remember, the Kings will have to make a roster move when Alyn McCauley returns.
– In general, it was an uneven effort for the Kings. Crawford said he was pleased with the second period but his primary feeling was disappointment with the third-period effort. He touched on an area he’s discussed before, the idea that the Kings need to be able to finish games, to show some killer instinct in the third period. That’s not easy with a young team, but Crawford pointed out that players should want the pressure of playing important minutes in the third period and should be able to rise to the occasion. He said the players’ work ethic was sufficient but that they made poor decisions, particularly in the offensive zone.
– Not that it even needs to be said, but Evgeni Malkin and Crosby are the real deals. They both played more than 22 minutes. Crosby didn’t even record a shot on goal but he got on the scoresheet three times with assists.
– A hello and thanks to Gann and the folks at kingshockey.com. Any questions/comments are always welcome.