All the Kings needed was a change in venue and a change in their lineup to get back into their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the St. Louis Blues. They scored one goal for the third consecutive game, but managed to make it count Saturday night at Staples Center.
The Kings and Phoenix met Monday night at Staples Center for the second time in less than a week, with the Coyotes winning last Tuesday in Glendale, Ariz. The teams play again Tuesday at Staples Center, completing a stretch in which the Kings faced only two opponents in five games.
Came across this gem of a quote on the audio recorder from Kings captain Dustin Brown, who credited the play of young defensemen, including Slava Voynov, for the team’s recent surge in scoring. They are passing the puck more efficiently to the forwards and also contributing scoring, where everyone was coming up (almost) empty to start the season.
Six different Kings scored goals during a 6-2 rout of the defenseless Calgary Flames on Saturday night at Staples Center. Two had three points apiece in the team’s eighth victory in its last 10 games. The goaltender needed to make only 17 saves in a bounce-back performance.
Conventional wisdom suggested the Kings might be in serious trouble after veteran defensemen Matt Greene (back surgery) and Willie Mitchell (knee surgery) were injured. After all, they were huge factors in the Kings’ run to the Stanley Cup championship last spring. Who would replace them? How would they measure up?
The Kings looked like they were skating through mud in the second period Tuesday night at Staples Center. The St. Louis Blues built a three-goal lead before the Kings rallied with a goal from defenseman Slava Voynov in the closing minutes of the period. The Blues seemed bent on giving away their lead, taking a couple of needless penalties late in the period. But the Kings failed to click after Roman Polak was penalized for holding and then went to the penalty box for boarding Dwight King. Kings coach Darryl Sutter pulled starter Jonathan Bernier after the Blues’ David Perron scored to make it 3-1 only 1:14 into the period. It was only the second time this season Sutter pulled his startin goaltender. Bernier couldn’t be faulted for any of the three goals.
The Kings and Coyotes played six times last season. Three of the games were decided by one goal; two were decided by two goals; and the other time the Kings decided not to play defense and lost 6-3.
True to their nature –even in the preseason, with rosters full of players who will spend this season in the AHL, ECHL or Canadian junior leagues –the Kings and Coyotes played a pair of one-goal games Thursday. The Coyotes squad that hosted the Kings in Glendale, Arizona, lost 3-2. The Coyotes squad that played in Anaheim a day earlier visited Staples Center and pulled out a 2-1 shootout win.
In Glendale [game summary | event summary], Dustin Penner scored with 49 seconds left in regulation to break a 2-2 tie. Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist, Trevor Lewis had three assists, and Ethan Moreau scored in the first period –chronologically, the Kings’ first goal of the preseason.
Jonathan Bernier started and saved 18 of 19 shots in two periods. Jeff Zatkoff got the third period and stopped 8 of 9.
At Staples Center, the vantage point of the press box offered a few more insights: