Los Angeles Hockey: Jamie Benn

Kings: Too much pulp, not enough juice

March, 7, 2011

LOS ANGELES -- Maybe the Kings should just decline the penalty next time.

After finishing 0 for 6 with the man advantage two days earlier in a loss to Vancouver, the Kings took another step back Monday night against the Dallas Stars, allowing a game-tying short-handed goal in the third period.

That allowed the game to move into overtime, where Brenden Morrow scored 38 seconds in, lifting the Stars to a 4-3 victory at Staples Center. It was the first time in 20 games this season that the Kings lost after leading after two periods.

“When you give up a short-handed goal, that’s disappointing,” said Kings coach Terry Murray.

The Kings were 0 for 4 on the power play against Dallas, including a five-minute stretch that began late in the first period and carried into the second after Steve Ott speared Kyle Clifford with his stick.

The Kings still had 2:45 left on the penalty when the second period began but were out-shot during that stretch, 2-0. They went back on the man advantage 15 seconds later and still couldn’t score.

All appeared forgiven after Clifford scored 2:41 into the third period to give the Kings a 3-2 lead, and the Kings were in even better shape when Stephane Robidad went off for hooking Alexei Ponikarovsky 86 seconds later.

But the momentum changed in the blink of an eye when Jamie Benn stole a pass from Kings defenseman Drew Doughty near the blue line and raced to the Kings net on a breakaway. He made one move and slid the puck past goalie Jonathan Bernier, tying the score with 14:40 remaining in the game.

“That’s over-handling the puck and not doing the right things at the right time,” Murray said.

Anze Kopitar, one of the main playmakers on the power-play unit, seemed mystified as to why the power play has struggled the last two games.

“Maybe trying too much now, instead of just simplifying things,” he said. “It certainly hasn’t been a boost of confidence and a boost of momentum in our game.”

Justin Williams, whose 21st goal of the season gave the Kings a 2-1 lead in the second period, was also at a loss for a solution.

“If I could pinpoint this, I’d nip it in the bud right away,” he said. “We need to get better…Maybe not be so tentative out there.”

Murray said of the unit has struggled with the basics.

“Just getting the group set up in the right positions and buying a little bit of time to make two or three passes,” he said. “That needs to be addressed and hopefully we can get things going the next game [Wednesday] in Detroit.”

Kings: Mitchell gives L.A. a 1-0 lead

March, 7, 2011
After the first period:

Kings 1, Dallas Stars 0

The good: Great shift by the Anze Kopitar, Dustin Penner and Justin Williams line led to the first goal just after the Kings killed a Dallas penalty. The trio helped keep the puck in the Dallas zone for nearly a minute before defenseman Willie Mitchell got off a slap shot that eluded Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen. Mitchell is playing with a mean-looking black eye after getting hit with the puck last week against Phoenix. Williams got an assist on the play for his 400th career point. With leading scorer Brad Richards still sidelined with a concussion, the Stars managed just four shots on goal in the period and didn’t get off their first until 9:15 had expired. On the second shot on goal, Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier made a spectacular glove save on Mike Ribeiro's shot while sprawled across the crease on his right side.

The bad: The Kings missed out on another power-play opportunity after Ryan Smyth took a high stick from by Brendan Morrow 3:15 into the game. They went 0-for-6 on the power play in their last game, a 3-1 loss Saturday against the visiting Vancouver Canucks.

The in between: The Kings will have the man-advantage for the first 2:45 of the second period after Dallas bad boy Steve Ott was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for spearing Kings enforcer-in-training Kyle Clifford. Ott and Greene had faced off when Clifford came up from behind Ott and wrapped both gloves around his face. As Ott was being pulled away by an official, he jabbed Clifford in the chest with the blade of his stick. You figured there would be some bad blood between the teams after what happened the last time Dallas played at Staples Center. Clifford appears to be a marked man the rest of the way after he laid a big hit on Jamie Benn in the neutral zone with 12 seconds left in the period.

Kings: Crawford lays into Stars after loss

October, 28, 2010
Dallas coach Marc Crawford, who suffered through two losing seasons in Los Angeles from 2006 to '08, laid into his team Thursday night after the Kings beat the Stars, 5-2, at American Airlines Arena.

Here's the full rant on ESPNDallas.com but in a nutshell, he wasn't happy that the line of Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro and Jamie Benn extended its shift longer than warranted in the second period, in an effort to build one more offensive attack.

Instead, they turned the puck over on a lazy pass, setting up a goal by Alexei Ponikarovsky that broke a 1-1 tie. Nine seconds later, the Kings scored again at that was essentially the game.

"You don't try to over-extend a shift you're 60 seconds into to try to get another offensive opportunity," he said. "You give the other team life. That's how you get beat."

Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress has been called out by members of the media for calling out quarterback Brett Favre following a loss to the Packers on Sunday night.

You wonder if Crawford also went too far.