Los Angeles Hockey: Colby Armstrong

Kings: Late goal by Handzus ties it, 2-2

January, 10, 2011
1/10/11
9:33
PM PT
After the 2nd period:

Kings 2, Toronto Maple Leafs 2

The good: Huge goal by Michal Handzus with just over five minutes remaining in the period to tie the score. Ryan Smyth passed the puck across the ice to Alec Martinez, who took a shot from near the boards and the puck glanced off the skate of Handzus and trickled past the goal line. Handzus has a goal and two assists in three games since he was bumped from the third line to the second. Another point for Martinez, who lost a goal from Saturday’s win against Columbus when the NHL ruled earlier Monday that his slap shot had been deflected into the net by Marco Sturm.

The bad: The Kings were forced to play from behind for much of the period after the Maple Leafs scored two goals in a 34-second span to take a 2-1 lead. Colby Armstrong set up the first when he slid a behind-the-back pass to Darryl Boyce as both skated into the Kings’ defensive zone. Kings defenseman Matt Greene followed Armstrong, leaving Boyce one-on-one with Martinez. Boyce, a 26-year-old rookie, didn’t bother trying to skate around Martinez, he just shot the puck through the fellow rookie’s legs and over the left shoulder of goalie Jonathan Quick for his second NHL goal in his seventh career game. Toronto then won a face-off in its offensive zone. Joey Crabb carried the puck behind the Los Angeles net and passed across the front of the goal to Phil Kessel, who scored on a tough angle for his team-high 18th goal of the season. The Kings were out-shot, 12-7, in the period.

The in between: Since we're one game past the midway point of the season, it’s a good time to start scoreboard watching. Phoenix and Colorado are just inside the top eight in the Western Conference standings, and both won by a goal tonight, so the Kings have dropped to ninth. They need a win to keep pace, as just three points separate fourth through 11th place. The Maple Leafs don’t have a power play yet, so the referees might be looking for anything borderline to call on the Kings.

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