So, what did everyone think? Actually, that’s a dangerous question, because it’s not fair to evaluate Jack Johnson, or anyone for that matter, after one game. He had so much to deal with, not just in terms of playing with an entirely new group of teammates but simply just in living his dream, for goodness sake. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to dress for your first NHL game. That said, I think Johnson, and the Kings, will be happy with his game as far as a first effort. He played 18 minutes, 45 seconds, a solid total, and got much more power-play time than I expected. He only took one shot, which probably disappointed a lot of people, but that will come.
How about Bulis going after Johnson in the second period? And Thornton going after Bulis? If you don’t think that speaks volumes, you don’t know anything about team sports. There was a thought in the back of my mind about Johnson. I wondered if any of the Kings might harbor a slight bit of jealousy over all the attention that has come Johnson’s way. Thornton’s actions negate any thoughts I might have had on that subject.
Derek Armstrong returned to the lineup and played almost 15 minutes, but Rob Blake missed the game with the same neck issue that cost him a game last week. I’ll have to check tomorrow and see how much of an issue that is. Seems like Johnson played most of the game in a pairing with Heward. I’d have to assume that Blake would be his regular partner, but I’ll also find that out tomorrow.
Sean Burke’s ever-growing goals-against average took another hit, although not a big one because his GAA is already close to 3.00. Burke has allowed at least three goals in each of his last 11 full games. I long ago stopped putting too much thought into how many “bad goals” a goalie allowed, because I think the defense is often a huge factor, but numbers do mean SOMETHING, and Burke’s aren’t good, especially since he only faced 21 shots.
Dustin Brown continues to impress. I’ve always felt that if he could find a way to put pucks in net on a regular basis, he’d be a very valuable all-around player. Seems like he’s closer to that than ever.
Kopitar got back on the board with a goal, his first since Feb. 24. I think he’s been a bit gun-shy because of his recent back problems, which is to be expected, so maybe this goal will get him going again.
I’ve got nothing too insightful tonight, folks. I’m sick and it’s time for NyQuil induced zzzzzzzz’s.