Los Angeles Hockey: John-Michael Liles

Kings: Richardson makes his mark in first period

February, 26, 2011
2/26/11
2:13
PM PT
After the 1st period:

Kings 1, Colorado Avalanche 0

The good: For that period anyway, the Kings didn’t look like they were missing a top-line left wing. Brad Richardson looked spectacular in that role during the opening 20 minutes. He earned the primary assist on the only goal of the period, set up a 3-on-1 scoring chance with a spectacular move and seemed to be around the puck on every shift. The scoring play began when Wayne Simmonds dumped the puck into the Colorado zone, chased it down and forced defenseman John-Michael Liles to bounce Simmonds off the boards. The puck squirted out to Richardson, who wheeled around from behind the net and sent a backhand at goalkeeper Brian Elliott. The shot was saved but the rebound came out to Anze Kopitar who buried it into the net for a 1-0 lead 7:13 into the game. The Kings also limited the Avs to five shots on goal. In their last game Thursday against visiting Minnesota, they limited the Wild to six shots on goal in the opening period of the 4-2 win.

The bad: The Marco Sturm experiment didn’t pay off, and now the Marco Sturm gamble has left the Kings in a hole. The club put Sturm on waivers Friday to gain some roster flexibility in case it made a move heading into Monday’s trade deadline. Nobody expected Sturm to get claimed. In fact, he was penciled in to play on the top line today with Kopitar and Simmonds. Well, the Washington Capitals had other plans and claimed Sturm early this morning. Coupled with the news Friday night that Andrei Loktionov suffered a shoulder injury during what was supposed to be a brief stay in the AHL, and the Kings are a bit short-handed up front. Good thing the trade deadline is still two days away. As far as the play on the ice, Rob Scuderi has three giveaways, which is usually a game’s worth.

The in between: Barely three minutes into the game, Kings enforcer Kevin Westgarth tangled with David Koci of the Avs. Both players threw about 30 punches each but didn’t appear to land any. Kyle Clifford might have to give Westgarth some pointers.

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