Delayed postgame reaction due to technical difficulties …
The Kings played one of those grind-it-out games against a team with more speed and skill and still managed to pull out a 2-1 victory over the visiting Ducks on Tuesday. The Kings have won more of their share of these kinds of games because they seem to play more than their share of them. The Kings also showed off a little skill of their own on their two goals, especially on a flawless give-and-go from Anze Kopitar to Dwight King and back to Kopitar for the go-ahead marker early in the third period.
1. As long as Jonathan Quick continues to be the Kings’ best player, they’re going to be in fine shape. Quick saved the Kings from themselves during what could have been a disastrous first period. The Ducks took a 1-0 lead, but it could have been 3-0 or 4-0 if not for Quick’s stellar play in net. He saved 14 of 15 shots as the Kings took four minor penalties in the first period. He settled the Kings down and when they finally found their rhythm, they zoomed past the Ducks swiftly and certainly. There was never any sense of panic in the Kings’ game, even as the Ducks poured on the pressure in the first period. The Ducks never cracked Quick in the final two periods, giving the Kings a chance to rally.
2. King filled in capably for injured left wing Dustin Brown on the Kings’ top line with center Kopitar and right wing Justin Williams. He make a deft pass to Kopitar for what proved to be the winning goal and he played a steady two-way game alongside his more accomplished linemates. He also gave as good as he took during a first-period scrap with Brad Staubitz. Brown is irreplaceable in the grand scheme of things for the Kings, but if his sore hamstring does keep him from starting the season, as coach Darryl Sutter suggested the other day that it might, then King could serve as more than just a fill-in.
3. Meh. It’s really tough to get excited about these exhibition games. They count for nothing, especially with two teams playing for far, far more than meaningless bragging rights in September. The Ducks won the Pacific Division in 2012-13, which didn’t mean a whole lot last season but now does in the NHL’s return to a division-based playoff format. The Kings could face the Ducks for the first time in the playoffs if form holds and two of the division’s best teams finish at the top of the standings. But until they meet for real, with something tangible on the line, it’s really difficult to get worked up about a September matchup. Call us later in the season. Or better yet, in the playoffs.