Monday, January 24, 2011
Kings: Power play comes through for a 1-0 lead
By Dan Arritt
After the 1st period:
Kings 1, Boston Bruins 0
The good: The power-play slump is over after the Kings scored the only goal of the opening period with the man-advantage. Zdeno Chara went to the box after hooking Anze Kopitar with 9:44 left in the period and the Kings cashed in 34 seconds later when Jarret Stoll sent a blast at Boston goalie Tim Thomas, who leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.83) and save percentage (.945). Ryan Smyth was in his usual position camped out in front of the crease and he got a piece of the puck, deflecting it off Thomas and into the air. Smyth missed on his first swipe at the puck while it was a about a foot in the air, but had time to knock it in once it fell to the ice. The goal ended an 0-for-22 stretch on the power play, covering the last seven games. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick is 4-0 in his career against Boston and he has 11 saves so far, including a 2-on-1 stop just 75 seconds into the game.
The bad: The Kings are getting worked over in the face-off circle. They’ve won just six of 20 puck drops so far, including one-of-six chances for Stoll, they’re face-off extraordinaire.Kings rookie left wing Andrei Loktionov has been battling along the boards, but he has also been victimized by two giveaways. Kings veteran left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky has an average stat line so far, but is handling the puck like it's his mother's china.
The in between: Kyle Clifford mixed it up with Shawn Thornton in a pretty evenly matched fight. Once again, Clifford had to take on a guy that’s old enough to be his uncle. Thornton is 33 and Clifford is 20, so Thornton pulled a few tricks out of his sleeve, including landing a few jabs with his grab hand. Clifford rocked him early with a couple good rights, however, so Thornton’s punches had little steam. The Kings did not dress heavyweight enforcer Kevin Westgarth tonight, so it’s up to Clifford to keep things in order against a big, physical lineup for Boston.