Kings try to look at bright side
November, 6, 2011
By Dan Arritt | ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES—Losing a fourth straight game usually isn’t so easy to stomach.
But the Kings were dishing out plenty of positives following their 3-2 shootout loss Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Staples Center.
Here’s the main course of highlights, according to those in the locker room:
- The Kings scored a goal on their home ice for the first time in three games.
- Jonathan Quick had another extraordinary effort in goal, stopping 31 shots in regulation and two of four in the shootout.
- The penalty kill unit snuffed out five of six power plays by the Penguins, including a 5-on-3 at the end of the first period that lasted more than two minutes. They’ve now killed 29 of their last 32 penalties.
- The top line of Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams and Simon Gagne combined to score both goals and got their names on the score sheet for the first time in the last four home games.
Baby steps, in reality, but the Kings felt a lot better than they did after Thursday’s 3-0 loss against visiting Edmonton.
“The outcome wasn’t the way we wanted it to be but I think our game overall was much better than it was last game,” said Kopitar, who scored the first goal and set up the second. “If we play like that, I like our chances in each and every game.”
Kings defenseman Matt Greene, who intercepted a pass in the neutral zone that led to the first goal by the Kings, tying the score, 1-1, late in the second period, said it’s only a matter of time before the offense begins clicking. The Kings came into the game with the third-worst goals-for average in the NHL.
“It’s going to happen sooner or later by sticking with the system and doing what we do, cycling the puck,” he said. “That’s how it’s going to happen.”
The Kings gave up the tying goal with 2:57 remaining in regulation, but Kings coach Terry Murray had nothing negative to say in his post-game press conference, applauding both sides for a well-played game. He was particularly pleased with the Kings effort down low in their offensive end.
“Our dot to the board game was as good as it’s been all year long,” he said. “I like that. It’s the way we have to play.”
The Kings are scheduled to practice Sunday and then fly to San Jose for a game Monday night against the Sharks. They’ll be back home Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators, when they hope to take another step forward in front of their antsy home crowd.
“We want to win every game, but tonight it didn’t happen,” Greene said. “Now we have to focus on San Jose.”