Saturday, December 3, 2011
Kings: Dustin Penner scores but L.A. trails, 2-1
By Dan Arritt
After the 2nd period:
Montreal Canadiens 2, Kings 1
The good: Yes, there is a Dustin Penner. After sitting out the last nine games with a hand injury and coasting through the previous 28 regular-season appearances without scoring a goal, Penner finally lit the lamp with 6:14 remaining in the second period, deflecting a point shot from Drew Doughty on a power play and re-directing it past Montreal goalie Carey Price to cut the deficit to 2-1. Penner was likely on the power play because Mike Richards went on injured reserve Friday with a possible concussion. Richards was a key cog on the unit for the Kings, so it’s a big plus when Penner can contribute in that area. Montreal left wing Erik Cole, best known for delivering the hit that knocked Doughty out with a concussion for six games last season, committed an interference penalty that preceded the power-play goal. He went back to the box later in the period for slashing and the Habs will have another 11 seconds to kill at the start of the third.
The bad: The Kings haven’t scored more than two goals in the last four games, yet they’ve come away with five points in that span. They’ll need to rally from behind in this one after giving up a second goal midway through the second period. Kings defenseman Matt Greene was unable to stop the puck as it headed outside the offensive zone and Louis Leblanc retrieved it with plenty of speed and both Andrei Kostitsyn and Lars Eller to his right. He passed the puck to Kostitsyn, who passed it to Eller, who sent it back to Kostitsyn for the one-timer past Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier and a 2-0 lead.
The in between: Price has certainly shown he’s beatable this season. Coming into the game, he was 16th in the league in goals-against at 2.29 a game and 21st in save percentage at .917. The Kings had 14 shots on goal in the opening period, but only seven in the second. They’ll need to pick up the pace if they want to earn some points this afternoon.