Thursday, March 17, 2011
Kings: Clifford out as L.A. falls further behind
By Dan Arritt
After the 2nd period:
St. Louis Blues 2, Kings 0
The good: The only good news we have to report is the Kings are still in this game, even though it appears they left their hockey skills somewhere in Nashville. One thing they’re still doing right is killing penalties. They killed their third of the game in the second period to run their streak of unsuccessful power plays by their opponents to 26. For all the stuff they’re not doing right, see below.
The bad: First off, bad news for Kings rookie Kyle Clifford. He won’t return after absorbing a one-punch knockdown from Ryan Reaves of St. Louis late in the first period. That’s really too bad because Clifford has been a big part of the team and hasn’t been afraid to step up in weight class to protect his teammates. He gave up 25 pounds to Reaves and this time it cost him. The Kings have been outs-hot, 30-6, so far. That’s not a misprint. Their franchise low for shots on goal in a game is 12, set in October 1997 in Florida. The Kings were seconds away from escaping into the locker room with just a one-goal deficit, but the Blues went coast-to-coast after winning a face off in the Kings’ zone and Matt D’Agostini scored his second goal of the game, hitting the net from a tough angle (video above). Kings goalie Jonathan Quick didn’t even know the puck got through, but the Blues did. The other big lop-sided stat are the giveaways. The Kings have 13 and St. Louis has two.
The in between: The Kings won’t have to face the Blues again this season. They are 0-3 against St. Louis and have lost six straight overall. If the Kings can’t come back, they’ll still be in fifth place in the Western Conference.