Thursday, January 6, 2011
Kings: At least Bernier looks sharp
By Dan Arritt
After the 1st period:
Kings 0, Nashville Predators 0
The good: Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier looks relaxed and ready against Nashville, probably because he’s 2-0 against the Predators this season. Bernier stopped 11 shots in the opening period, bailing out the Kings on more than one occasion after they turned the puck over in their own zone. Ryan Smyth is the most active forward on the ice so far, which says something because he’s also the oldest member of the Kings at age 34. Peter Harrold, a natural defenseman who was a healthy scratch the last six games, is playing forward on the fourth line and he has two shots on goal, which ties Drew Doughty and Wayne Simmonds for the team high.
The bad: The Kings looked about as flat as a frozen lake during the opening period. As previously noted, they struggled just to clear the puck from their own zone on several occasions. The juggling of the lines isn’t having an impact so far. Dustin Brown and Justin Williams, two of the top three scorers on the team, don’t have a shot on goal, neither does Michal Handzus, who was moved from the third to the second line in an effort to spark more offense. They are making life easy for Nashville goalkeeper Anders Lindback, who allowed three goals on the first nine shots in his last start—Dec. 18 against the visiting Kings—and didn’t make it through the first period.
The in between: The Kings had the only power play of the opening period. Williams just missed on a redirection in front of the net and Doughty got off a nice wrist shot into the chest of Lindback, but the Kings need to do better if they want to end this four-game losing streak. They haven’t lost five in a row in regulation since they dropped eight straight in December 2007.