Kings: Fast start fades toward end of scoreless first period

March, 24, 2012
3/24/12
7:10
PM PT
After the 1st period:

Kings 0, Boston Bruins 0

The good: Great pace and tempo by the Kings in the opening period, especially the first 17 minutes. The own a 15-11 edge in shot on goals, but the Bruins got the last five after going on the power play following a questionable roughing penalty on Justin Williams, who is playing in his 700thcareer game. The Kings survived the penalty, thanks to great goaltending by Jonathan Quick and a timely blocked shot by defenseman Willie Mitchell after a rebound came straight into the slot and onto the waiting stick of Jordan Caron. The Kings set the tone when Anze Kopitar sent a blast off the shoulder of Boston goalie Tim Thomas and into the netting just 19 seconds into the game. Jarret Stoll came back with a good scoring chance in front of the net about a minute later. Rob Scuderi broke up a 3-on-2 rush by speeding back on defense and poking the puck away from Milan Lucic. Kings forward Trevor Lewis dropped the gloves for the first time this year, taking a few rights from Chris Kelly before landing a big one of his own. Not a bad break for the Kings, as Lewis has three goals and seven points this season, while Kelly has 18 and 34.

The bad: One long delay with 3:17 remaining in the period seemed like more than enough time for the referees to check the clock, but then they needed a shorter one in the middle of the Boston power play, presumably to do the same thing. The league has been watching the clock at lot closer at Staples Center ever since it briefly stopped in the closing seconds against Columbus earlier this season, giving the Kings a chance to score the game winner just before the horn. Probably no coincidence that L.A.’s momentum screeched to a halt after the first delay, and Williams committed his penalty shortly after Dustin Brown hit the post from the right faceoff circle with 2:45 left.

The in between: The Dallas Stars have already knocked off the Calgary Flames, 4-1, earlier today. That leapfrogs Dallas back into the Pacific Division lead and third place in the Western Conference standings. The Kings fall back to seventh in the West, but a win would put them back atop the Pacific and into the No. 3 slot. With the Flames losing, that’s a big blow to their playoff hopes, as they’re still three points back of the final playoff spot. The other scores to watch later tonight are the Vancouver Canucks at the Colorado Avalanche, and the Phoenix Coyotes at the San Jose Sharks. Phoenix, Colorado and San Jose are each within two points of the Kings.

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