The announced crowd of 18,118 at Staples Center didn’t get a chance to welcome back the Kings squad that had just swept a four-game road trip for the first time in franchise history.
That team bore little resemblance to the one that played the Blues on Thursday.
Considering that the Kings got a well-earned day off practice upon returning home Wednesday, and were playing a struggling Blues squad that was all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, maybe a letdown wasn’t completely out of the blue (pun intended).
But head coach Terry Murray wasn’t ready for the crowd’s reaction after the second period. The Kings were booed off the ice shortly after Jonathan Quick allowed a bad-angle goal by Matt D’Agostini with 6.9 seconds left before intermission.
“You know what the most disappointing, frustrating thing was? At the end of the second period we were booed off the ice by our fans,” Murray said. “That is the most embarrassing thing I have ever been through. That’s the worst I have ever been through in all the years I’ve been coaching. I’ve been behind the bench almost 3,000 hockey games in the NHL and booed off the ice by your own fans — at the end of the second period after we’ve been through here, after this road trip, going 4-0 in hard places — very disappointing.”
Murray then left the lectern, the five-question postgame press conference only slightly exceeding the two-question low set on March 5.
The debate over whether or not the boos were warranted ought to generate some buzz in Hockeywood (comments welcome here), at least until the Kings’ next game Saturday against the Ducks.
As with all of the 11 remaining games, that one will have big implications on the Western Conference standings, which currently see the Kings trailing the Phoenix Coyotes by two points for fourth place. The Kings have one game in hand already, and they’ll have two in hand after Phoenix visits Vancouver tomorrow when the Kings get a day off.
Some more notes/observations that won’t make tomorrow’s editions:
The Kings were outshot 13-2 after one period, 24-3 at one point in the second period, and 30-6 after 40 minutes. Said Murray: “It doesn’t matter what the shot count was. Actually, it was 30-6 at the end of two periods. What does it matter? We had six shots on net. We had nothing going on. The game was over.”
Dustin Brown: Eight hits, $400 for Children’s Hospital L.A.
Quick usually makes the save on all four of the goals he allowed tonight. That said, he got almost no help in the form of sustained offensive-zone time from his teammates. Murray said he had no thoughts of pulling the goalie, even simply as a motivational tool. “Changing goaltenders doesn’t do anything,” he said.
The Blues, who will probably miss the playoffs, finished a perfect 4-0 against the Kings this season.