It’s the Los Angeles Kings vs. the suddenly resurgent Arizona Coyotes. The Yotes have won three in a row with their 6’ 6” 22-year-old goaltender Adin Hill The Kings counter with three wins in their last five and a Jonathan Quick shutout on Sunday. Good times!
Tonight, we are live again with a running diary comes from the Media Guy Man Cave. The menu includes Chimichangas, Sonoran hot dogs, piki bread, lots of jalapenos, and some homebrewed sun tea.
Trevor Lewis is out now 4-6 weeks following foot surgery, and why not? There’s two things you can count on from a Willie Desjardins team: Everyone seems to get injured, AND, there’s very little scoring.
The King will start their new waiver wire pick-up Brendan Leipsic. Did you know he once scored 120 points in juniors? Me neither. He has 30 points in 81 career games as a barely used Canuck and is described as a “speed forward.” Of course, someone with that much scoring potential will start on the fourth line tonight? Why? See above regarding the scoring.
(And yes, all things wrong with the Kings will be blamed on the interim coach from here on in.)
The Battle of the Kempes tonight. Mario of the Yotes vs. Adrian of the Kings. We are lucky to have this battle because Mario has been recalled eight times already. Good to know.
0:20 – Ping off the post by Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Kings survive. No score.
1:25 – Adrian misses the sweet tip-in by thismuch. Still no score. Still no shots on goal.
3:27 – Arizona is a plus five on the penalty kill on the season. Another reminder that the Kings should seriously consider declining all penalties tonight.
5:46 – Adrian is buzzing tonight with another quality chance, but denied by Hill. He should play his older brother more often!
Back from commercial and Carrlyn Bathe is interviewing Camillia Kempe, the brothers’ mom.
Side note: I like Camilla so much that I think she should be a regular in-game interview.
7:47 – Patrick O’Neal chirps in and reports that the Kempe Bros.’ father says if Adrian had Mario’s heart he would be the best player in the NHL. I don’t know how to take that for Adrian. Compliment or no?
8:00 – Roughing against Quick. That would have been a good no call. Jim called the exchange “love taps.” Thanks Zebras.
10:00 – Penalty successfully killed. Quick is sharp as he solidifies his role as the Kings’ best penalty killer.
11:57 – We get a decent look at the Yotes’ new top line center, Nick Schmaltz. You aren’t telling me that team with Schmaltz as their top center has more wins than the Kings, are you? [Checks the standings…yep, two more…unbelievable.]
14:24 – It’s time for the Top Tier play as Jim illustrates how smart of a player Anze Kopitar is, always making the right play. Then we zoom in on Willie D. and, I guess, the nicest thing one can say about the interim coach is that he has a deep respect for Kopitar. Jim tells us that even when not asked, Willie brings up Kopitar. Sigh…
17:50 – Slashing on Brad Richardson. Reminder to the Kings: please consider declining the penalty.
18:50 – No shots on goal on the power play so far. Typical. You gotta love the Willie D. power play, don’t you?
18:25 – Lawson Crouse with the shorthander. How many times can I advocate declining a penalty? You gotta love the Willie D. penalty kill, don’t you? Yotes 1. Kings 0. Blame Phaneuf all you want on that one, but if Adrian loafed more on that breakout, he would have been skating backwards. Maybe dad was right, Adrian…Shameful.
End of Period.
Kings looked pretty good, except for that two minutes on the power play.
Shots – Kings 8. Yotes 6.
0:00 – Kings start off on the penalty kill after Thompson was called for a weak boarding call at the end of the first.
4:05 – Jake Muzzin to the box for slashing. This is where you question Jake’s hockey IQ. I mean, there was no upside to that play. He just took a one-handed swing at Schmaltz. The way the Kings penalty kill looks the last 14 games, I would have rather Jake pulled him down and taken a chance on the penalty shot.
5:18 – Toffoli with the nice effort skating it in looking for his own shorthander, but his backhand shot goes wide. Once upon a time we count on a Toffoli shorty a few times a year. Alas, 2018-19 is a whole ‘nother story.
5:56 – Schmaltz with the power play goal after Quick lost his stick. No goalie interference because, well, the Zebras aren’t really a fan of Quickie tonight. Yotes 2. Kings 1. Quick yaps at the Zebras right into the commercial break. This from The Twitter:
Curtis Zupke: An especially bad special teams night so far.
Me: Willie D. is a career leader in bad special teams.
6:15 – Meanwhile in other action, Alex Ovechkin scores his 20th goal in 27 games and Calgary beats Columbus 9-6. Everyone is scoring this year…except the Kings.
7:35 – Derek Forbort with a typical Forbort offensive zone giveaway, but Doughty makes the nifty poke-check to Jeff Carter who starts a rush the other way which results in a Doughty chance. In your heart you’re thinking, “that’s going in any other year.” This year? Nothing doing.
9:12 – Alex lets us know the Kings are playing better under Desjardins, posting a 5-5 mark in their last ten games as Leipsic puts a decent chance on net. Note to Alex: Stop selling this to us. The Kings look horrible in their last ten games and if it wasn’t for Cal Petersen and Quick, they would have been zero and ten.
12:10 – Jim reports the game has grown methodical. In other words, boring.
13:47 – Doughty levels Other Kempe. There’s only been two Kings with any energy tonight: Doughty and Leipsic.
15:19 – Carter to the box for slashing. Don’t blame the Zebras we are told because it’s actually the players that want slashing called with regularity.
16:10 – Thompson with the shorthanded bid, but Adin “the Giant” denies the chance.
End of Period.
Did you know…the Kings are on a pace to post the 14th worst goals per game average of any team since the league expanded from six to 12 teams in 1967?
This season gets better and better with every factoid, doesn’t it?
Shots – Kings 16. Yotes 14.
1:40 – Alex and Jim talk about the M*A*S*H unit the Kings have formed with Ilya Kovalchuk, Carl Hagelin, Jack Campbell and Lewis out for extended periods. This was about the time I noticed that Alex and Jim had long patches of real estate to weave stories in the way Vin Scully would during baseball games. This is especially concerning because in baseball you have a lot of downtime to tell stories, but in hockey it’s supposed to be end-to-end action. But, not this year…
3:25 – Thompson, Adrian, and Amadio are out there now for the Kings. It’s no wonder the Kings can’t score. The lines change faster than the costumes on Broadway. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 45 years of watching hockey, you’ve got to have a tiny bit of patience with the lines and let them gel. However, Willie D. wants no part of gellin’.
9:02 – Luff draws the high stick. Jim openly roots for blood to “make something happen.” Yes, we are desperate. Kings to the power play. Uh-oh!
9:45 – Carter goes across the crease, but his long reach is for naught as Hill comes up big.
11:02 – Kings generate little there. For those of you scoring at home, over the last 14 games, the Kings are 4-for-37 (10.8%) on the power play and 28-for-43 (65.1%) on the penalty kill. Those kind of numbers get you fired.
14:01 – Other Kempe checks Forbort which sends the Kings defenseman into the tunnel.
14:15 – Alex Martinez jumps into the play, rushes to the front of the net and scores for the second game in a row. So you’re saying there’s a chance? Yotes 2. Kings 1.
15:20 – Pileup in front the Yotes net. The Kings are buzzing as the “Go Kings Go” chants urge them forward.
18:19 – Quick to the bench for the extra attacker.
18:27 – Icing on Arizona. Perfect time to use that timeout and draw up a set play off the faceoff win. Wait, what? No timeout called? Oh Willie…
19:33 – Hill smothers the puck just inside the left circle. Curious here how far a goalie can glove a puck down outside the crease. Anyone know? Hey, I’m desperate for anything to go the Kings way…
…So, now you call your timeout Willie? You’re about a minute too late with that. Seriously, give me a call and I can help you with your timeouts. I know you’re reading these, Willie. Better yet, email me. The link is in my bio.
19:41 – Kopitar with the deceptive one-timer that’s gloved down by Hill.
End of Game.
Kings put up a fight for the last five minutes but a 12.5% game effort won’t cut it. That’s six losses in the last seven homes games. Also I’m convinced that Willie D. is trying to kill Kopitar and Brown as they combine for 50+ minutes TOI.
#Lose4Hughes in full effect.
Shots – Kings 26. Yotes 20.
NINETEEN WORD GAME RECAP
Adin Hill cruises to fourth straight win as the Kings special teams fail once again. Arizona 2, Kings 1.
NEXT: Battle of the Titans Thursday as the twenty-eighth place New Jersey Devils come to Staples Center to take on the thirty-first place Kings.
GAME NOTES: Stars of the Game: First – Hill, Second – Ekman-Larsson, Third – Doughty… Kings are 1-15-1 when their opponent scores first and are winless (13 games) this season when they trail after the second period… Kopitar, Leipsic, and Toffoli all had a game-high four shots on goal… The Kings have scored zero goals or one goal in 11 of 28 games this season… Former Montreal first-round draft pick Nikita Scherbak, who was claimed off waivers Sunday, was activated off injured reserve… Hill has allowed two goals in his four-game winning streak… Doughty led all players with 29:11 TOI…
KOPITAR: “Obviously you want to get more shots. I don’t know what we ended up with, but a lot of it came from late in the game, so you’ve just got to play a lot more minutes like we did the last five to seven minutes. You could tell it was desperation there and it’s just we’ve got to play like that for 60 minutes.”
YOTES COACH RICK TOCCHET: “Yeah, Hilly was good again. He’s unflappable right now.”
WILLIE D. “I thought that we got better as the game went on. I thought we started a little bit slow. I thought their forwards had lots of speed, it gave us some trouble. I think, again, those specialty teams, they get a shorty, they get a power play goal on us, and five-on-five we were playing pretty good hockey. That’s not the area that’s hurting us. It’s the specialty teams that are hurting us.”