Los Angeles Hockey: Dan Boyle

Kings: Another two-goal lead goes by wayside in season finale

April, 7, 2012

San Jose Sharks 3, Kings 2 (OT)

Eight keys to the game:

THE FACTS: By the time the puck dropped Saturday night at HP Pavilion in San Jose, neither the Kings nor Sharks still had an opportunity to win the Pacific Division title. Phoenix took care of that just before the opening faceoff by defeating the Wild in Minnesota to clinch its first division championship in franchise history. There was still plenty of incentive to enter the postseason on a high note, however. Unfortunately, that team won't be the Kings, who blew a two-goal lead in the third period before giving the game away in overtime. The Kings finished as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and will open the playoffs Wednesday or Thursday in Vancouver against the top-seeded Canucks.

THE STAT: For the second consecutive season, the Kings had a chance to earn home-ice advantage for the first round by winning their final two games. Instead, they were swept for the second consecutive year. This one particularly hurt, as the Kings held two-goal leads late in both games and would have won their first Pacific Division title in 21 years had they held on.

TURNING POINT: With his team trailing, 2-0, after two periods, San Jose coach Todd McLellan made the bold move of pulling starting goalie Antti Niemi and replacing him with Thomas Greiss, who had played just once since Feb. 26. That seemed to send a message to the players, as defenseman Dan Boyle scored 35 seconds into the third period to give the Sharks life, and Patrick Marleau tied the score with a power-play goal at the 8:14 mark of the period. That allowed the game to venture into overtime, and Boyle won it with 1:02 left in the extra five-minute period, backhanding a shot from 10 feet out past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.

HOT: After scoring four power-play goals Thursday night in a 6-5 shootout loss to the Sharks at Staples Center, the most in one game in three years, the Kings scored two more man-advantage goals in the rematch. L.A. came into the game 8-for-24 on the man-advantage against San Jose this season, and ended up scoring 20 percent of its power-play goals against the Sharks. Justin Williams, who scored two power-play goals in the loss Thursday, scored the first goal for the Kings, his 22nd of the season, matching his total from a year ago. The Kings also out-shot San Jose in the opening period, 15-5, after out-shooting them in the first 20 minutes Thursday, 18-8.

NOT: As was noted in the game preview and deserves repeating, Quick has proved to be a great goalie in the fall and winter, but a bust in the spring, when it matters most. He did not look sharp against the Sharks for the second consecutive game and is most responsible for the Kings failing to win the Pacific Division. At the end of the 2009-10 season, he gave up three or more goals in seven of his last nine regular-season starts, then allowed 21 goals in a six-game loss against Vancouver in the opening round. Last season, he allowed 11 goals in his final four starts of the regular season. The Kings lost three of those games, keeping them from earning home-ice advantage in the first round. He then gave up 20 goals in a six-game loss to the Sharks, including six goals in Games 3 and 4 at Staples Center. He allowed eight goals in the final two games against the Sharks this season. This upcoming playoff series could define Quick’s career for years to come.

(Read full post)

Kings lose fifth straight game, 4-2

November, 7, 2011
Kings vs SharksAP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezDrew Doughty and the Kings couldn't find their game against the Sharks in a loss Monday.
San Jose Sharks 4, Kings 2

Eight keys to the game:

THE FACTS: The San Jose Sharks scored four consecutive goals in a span of just under 15 minutes during the second half of Monday night's game at HP Pavilion in San Jose, more than enough to send the reeling Kings to their fifth consecutive loss.

THE STAT: The Kings were held under three goals for the fifth straight game and have two goals or fewer in 10 of 14 games this season.

TURNING POINT: After the Kings took a 1-0 lead on a 5-on-3 goal by Jack Johnson early in the second period, the Sharks exploded for three goals in a 5 minute 23 second-span of the same period. Joe Thornton faked a wraparound, reversed direction and banked a shot off Kings goalie Jonathan Quick from below the icing line. Less than a minute later, Patrick Marleau redirected a shot from Dan Boyle between Quick’s legs, and Boyle then made it 3-1 with a 5-on-3 goal of his own.

HOT: The Kings had one of their better first periods of the season, out-shooting San Jose, 14-7, but they had nothing to show for it ... Up against the 29th-ranked penalty kill unit in the league, the Kings scored both of their goals on the power play, one area of improvement thus far this season ... Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist, giving him eight points in the last six games.

NOT: In his five starts since establishing a franchise record with three consecutive shutouts, Quick has been off his mark, giving up 18 goals in six games with a save percentage of just .900 (162-180) ... Johnson scored a goal but was also minus-3 for the game, along with his defense partner, Rob Scuderi.

GOOD MOVE: Kings coach Terry Murray moved Dustin Penner from the third to the second line to give him more scoring opportunities and the switch paid off early, as Penner had three good scoring chances in the opening period but couldn’t convert. Unfortunately, he didn't get another shot on net the rest of the game.

BAD MOVE: With the Kings leading, 1-0, left wing Kyle Clifford was whistled for tripping in his offensive zone. The Sharks didn’t score during the ensuing power play but still had possession when the penalty ended and Thornton scored 14 seconds later to tie the score, 1-1. The soft goal may have bothered Quick because he gave up two more goals before the period ended.

NOTABLE: Dustin Brown played in his 200th consecutive game for the Kings, the longest streak of any current team member ... Boyle came into the game with the most shots on goal by any player in the NHL without scoring a goal. That streak did not continue.

UP NEXT: Tuesday vs. the Nashville Predators at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.

All of sudden it's tied 5-5 after two

April, 19, 2011
Western Conference quarterfinals

Game 3 (Series tied, 1-1)

After the 1st period:

Kings 5, San Jose Sharks 5

The good: Not much positive to write about when the home team blows a four-goal lead early in the second period. The only bright spot was the offense did manage to tack two more points on the board. The Kings didn’t waste any time adding to their lead three-goal lead after the first intermission. Brad Richardson intercepted a pass in his offensive zone and scored an unassisted goal 44 seconds into the second period for a 4-0 lead. The goal was the second of the game for the Richardson line and third by the bottom two lines. San Jose pulled goalie Antti Niemi after the goal and inserted Antero Niittymaki, who must have brought his good-luck charm. Before the Sharks scored twice in the final 85 seconds to tie the score, Ryan Smyth scored what seemed like a huge goal for the Kings to regain their two-goal cushion. Smyth's goal came 15 seconds after the Sharks had cut the deficit to 4-3. Jarret Stoll brought the puck down the left side and slid a beautiful centering pass to Smyth at the right post and he tucked the puck into the net with 6:13 remaining in the period.

The bad: Just when the Kings thought they could relax and enjoy the lead, the Sharks scored twice in just under four minutes to cut the deficit in half, then twice more in the final two minutes to tie the score and hush the Staples Center crowd. About 2 minutes after taking the four-goal lead, Dan Boyle faked a slap shot and instead sent the puck just wide to Patrick Marleau, who redirected it into the net with Kings defenseman Matt Greene on his back. The Sharks then went on the power play after Dustin Penner was called for roughing and they capitalized with 17 seconds left on the man advantage as Ryane Clowe tipped in a cross pass from rookie Logan Couture with 13:07 left in the period. The damage didn’t end there as the Sharks cut into the deficit again while skating 4-on-4. Ian White, who sat out the last game after taking a hard lick that earned Stoll a one-game suspension for Game 2, slid a cross pass to Couture who had nothing but an open side of the net to shoot at. After the Kings made it 5-3 on Smyth's goal, the Sharks delivered a couple daggers as Clowe and Joe Pavelski took advantage of some poor clearing attempts by the Kings and put the puck past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who is still in the game despite allowing five goals on 25 shots.

The in between: One of the biggest cheers of the period was for Anze Kopitar, the team’s leading scorer who was captured on the big screen watching from the press box. Kopitar went down with an ankle injury with seven games remaining in the regular season and lost for the playoffs. Kopitar looked as if he'd much rather be earning cheers on the ice and the Kings could sure use him about now.

Kings: Down another body, Game 2 awaits

April, 16, 2011
Western Conference quarterfinals

Game 2

Kings (0-1) vs. San Jose Sharks (1-0) at HP Pavilion, 7 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

1. Stoll-less in San Jose – Just when the sun was beginning to peek out from the clouds, lightning struck again Friday when center Jarret Stoll was suspended for Game 2 following a league review of his check on San Jose defenseman Ian White during a 3-2 overtime loss Thursday night in Game 1. Stoll hit White from behind late in the first period and pinned his head between the boards and his forearm, sending a wobbly White off the ice for the remainder of the game and possibly the series. The Kings will be without their fifth leading scorer, best face-off man and penalty-shot extraordinaire. Other than that, he won't be missed.

2. Schenn-less in San Jose – With the suspension of Stoll, the Kings appeared to have a built-in excuse to bring in Brayden Schenn for a one-game roll out. Schenn, the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft, completed his stellar junior career Wednesday and was officially the property of the Kings again. But management opted to stick with their original plan and start Schenn out in the AHL with the Manchester Monarchs. That could be the surest sign that the Kings are already looking toward next year.

3. Make room for Moller – The Kings hoped to bring in John Zeiler to fill Stoll’s spot on the bench, but Zeiler couldn’t clear re-entry waivers and still get to San Jose in time for Game 2. Zeiler isn’t exactly a scoring threat anyway, just somebody to throw on the ice while the skilled guys get a breather. Instead, the Kings will likely reinsert Oscar Moller in the lineup. If he’s going to have any worth, Moller needs to find a way to overcome his small size and tendency to get knocked off the puck too easily.

4. Fighting words – Many have long questioned the value of having Keven Westgarth in the lineup, and the naysayers were louder than ever heading into Game 1. As the team’s heavyweight enforcer, the popular opinion seems to be his skill set will not be needed in the postseason. But there was Westgarth at the end of the first period Thursday, challenging the entire San Jose bench to a fight after the Sharks badly outplayed the Kings and then tried to rough up Justin Williams following Stoll’s hit on White. Westgarth’s intimidation tactics seemed to work, as San Jose backed off on their cheap shots, Williams earned a goal and an assist in the second period and the Kings picked up some much-needed momentum.

5. Heavy finned Sharks? – The absence of White for the final two periods and 15 minutes of overtime left the Sharks with five defensemen, which put extra minutes on the legs of veteran blue liners Dan Boyle and Niclas Wallin. Boyle, 34, finished with 35 minutes of ice time, nearly nine minutes more than his regular-season average. Wallin, 36, was on the ice for 21:21, about 5 minutes more than his average. With just one day off between games, it will be interesting to see how they bounce back.

Ducks: Sharks rally to win, Visnovsky hurt

April, 2, 2011
San Jose Sharks 4, Ducks 2

Eight keys to the game:

THE FACTS: The Ducks let a two-goal lead slip away Saturday night at HP Pavilion in San Jose, but can still clinch a playoff berth Sunday evening with a regulation win against the visiting Dallas Stars at Honda Center.

THE STAT: Lubomir Visnovsky scored his 17thgoal of the season in the first period to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead and set a franchise record for goals by a Ducks defenseman, but he later left with just over eight minutes left after absorbing a hard check by Douglas Murray of the Sharks. Visnovsky has emerged this season as a candidate for the Norris Trophy, which goes to the league's top defenseman.

TURNING POINT: Less than two minutes after Visnovsky headed to the locker room because of an unknown injury, the Sharks went on the power play when Jason Blake was whistled for holding Ryane Clowe. A minute later, Devin Setoguchi scored on a slap shot from 40 feet to give San Jose a 3-2 lead.

HOT: Corey Perry assisted on both goals by the Ducks, giving him 16 points in his eight-game point streak. He made a highlight-reel pass to Bobby Ryan for the first goal of the game, then helped set up Visnovsky for his power-play goal.

NOT: Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman came in leading the NHL with a plus-minus rating of plus-33, but he was minus-two against the Sharks, which will drop him behind Zdeno Chara of the Bruins (plus-32).

GOOD MOVE: Ryan was questionable before the game after taking a knee-to-knee hit from Calgary defenseman Mark Giordano in the Ducks’ victory Wednesday night, but he showed up to work Saturday night and scored his 34th goal of the season.

BAD MOVE: San Jose coach Todd McLellen matched Dan Boyle and Murray against the Teemu Selanne line early on and they were no match for their speed and creativity. Boyle and Murray did combine for three assists later in the game.

NOTABLE: The Ducks can not only clinch a playoff berth for themselves Sunday against the Stars, but for the Los Angeles Kings as well.

UP NEXT: Sunday vs. Dallas Stars at Honda Center, 5 p.m.

Kings: Stoll, Quick continue shootout success

March, 25, 2011

In just its sixth season of existence, the NHL shootout doesn’t have enough historical data to distinguish an all-time great shooter from a good one, or a goalkeeper who specializes in one-on-one competition vs. one who's just on a lucky streak.

But the Kings have two players who are certainly on their way to establishing new watermarks for a single season.

Jarret Stoll scored his eighth goal in his ninth shootout opportunity this season, leading the Kings to a 4-3 victory Thursday night against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center, and goalkeeper Jonathan Quick improved to 9-0 in shootouts this season after letting just one of four slip by.

Their success is a big reason why the Kings sit in fifth place in the Western Conference standings.

"We're in a position where every point means a lot," Quick said.

According to NHL records, Stoll is on pace for the highest regular season shooting percentage in the shootout, while Quick still has a little more work to do.

Mathieu Garon, now a goalkeeper for the Columbus Blue Jackets, went 10-0 for Edmonton in 2007-08, allowing just two goals on 32 attempts. Half his victories came on the road, where he stopped all 14 shots. Quick, by comparison, has stopped 34-of-41 shootout attempts (.829). Not stellar, but certainly good enough.

Quick is quick to credit the shooters for his perfect record. There’s no question that Stoll’s success has benefited Quick.

"We've got guys scoring goals," Quick said. "I'm just trying to hold up my end."

Stoll came into the season just 4-for-13 on shootouts but is nearly perfect this season. His only misfire came Nov. 20 in Boston, when the first 11 shooters failed to score before Michal Handzus won it for the Kings, 4-3.

Since then, Stoll has converted seven straight.

He currently has the all-time best percentage (88.9) of any player with four or more attempts in a season. Petteri Nummelin of Minnesota made six out of seven (85.7) in 2006-07, and Wojtek Wolski of Colorado shot 10-for-12 (83.3) in 2008-09. A year ago, Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh made eight of 10 attempts.

Interestingly, Dan Boyle of the Sharks, who used a slow-motion move to beat Quick for the only shootout goal by San Jose, improved to three-for-three on the season. No player has ever finished four-for-four or better.

On the other end of the spectrum, Steven Stamkos of Tampa Bay, who leads the NHL with 43 goals this season, has missed all seven of his shootout attempts, the most attempts without a goal by any player in the league.

Kings: Smyth provides lead, Sharks take it away

January, 26, 2011
After the 2nd period:

San Jose Sharks 2, Kings 1

The good: Ryan Smyth and his famous wooden blade gave the Kings a 1-0 lead with 6 minutes remaining in the period. Smyth carried the puck down the right side, cut between the face-off circles and sent relatively weak backhand at San Jose goalie Antti Niemi. San Jose defenseman Dan Boyle was trying to push Los Angeles center Jarret Stoll out of the crease and the puck may have nicked Boyle’s skate on the way into the net. Either way, Stoll’s presence certainly distracted Niemi. Smyth now has a team-high 19 goals, putting the 34-year-old right wing on pace for his best season since 2006-07.

The bad: Before the Kings had time to defend the one-goal lead, the Sharks scored two goals in 39 seconds. The first came on a great individual effort by Ryane Clowe, who just returned after missing four games with an ankle injury. Niemi actually started the play when he made a pad save. Clowe retrieved the puck and skated past both blue lines before sending a wrist shot into the top right corner for an unassisted goal. The second goal was another poor effort by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, something that’s occurred too often lately. Devin Setoguchi brought the puck out from behind the net and flicked a shot from a side angle toward the crease. Quick got a piece of the puck and redirected it between his own legs for a 2-1 lead with 3:57 remaining. Quick went from allowing one goal in the last nine periods against the Sharks to allowing two within a minute. The top line of Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Andrei Loktionov still don’t have a shot on goal. In fact, the Kings have more giveaways (14) than shots on goal (13) through two periods.

The in between: The Colorado Avalanche lost to the Phoenix Coyotes tonight, so San Jose can move back into the top eight with a win. The Kings can pull within a point of eighth place with a victory. Brad Richardson leads the Kings with four shots on goal. Not a good sign when your fourth-line center is leading in that department.

Kings: Sharks D-man Murray out tonight

November, 15, 2010
What the locals are saying ...

A lower-body injury will sideline San Jose Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray for tonight's game against the visiting Kings, the team's web site reported this afternoon.

Murray and Dan Boyle have been the top defensive pair for San Jose this season. Murray blocked a shot at the 5:34 mark of the third period Saturday night in a 4-3 victory against visiting Calgary, skated to the bench and wasn't seen again.

David Pollack of the San Jose Mercury News also used most of his game preview to break down the Kings' resurgence. As has been written here, Pollack's story credits general manager Dean Lombardi with putting the pieces in order, much like he did as the GM for San Jose for seven seasons beginning in 1996.

The Kings (12-3-0) head into tonight's game leading the Western Conference in wins and points. They're off to their fastest start in club history.