Los Angeles Hockey: T.J. Galiardi

Kings: Kopitar scores but L.A. gives two back

January, 21, 2012
After the 2nd period:

Colorado Avalanche 2, Kings 1

The good: The Kings struck first, getting a goal from Anze Kopitar with 14:34 remaining in the period. Justin Williams passed the puck out from behind the net to Dustin Brown, who sent a one-timer at Colorado goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere from the left faceoff circle. Giguere made the save but couldn’t squeeze the puck and it trickled to his side, where Kopitar was waiting to stuff it past the goal line for his team-leading 15thgoal of the season. Kopitar, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury against the Avalanche last season, had 16 goals at the All Star break a year ago. Williams received an assist on the play, giving him at least a point in seven straight games.

The bad: The Kings couldn’t hold the one-goal lead as Colorado caught the defense on a shift change and Stefan Elliott made a perfect pass up the seam to Cody McLeod who had a couple strides on Kings defensemen Matt Greene and Willie Mitchell. He got just enough on the shot to slide it under the pad of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick to tie the score, 1-1, with 6:25 left in the middle frame. The Avs took the lead with 1:05 left in the period when Peter Mueller deflected a slap shot from T.J. Galiardi past Quick. The Kings are still way short of their shot-on-goal average this season. They’ve managed just 13 thus far and didn’t get one in the second period until Brown’s shot just before Kopitar’s goal. Overall, they had just one shot on net for a nearly 21-minute stretch that spanned from the first to the second period. Defensively, Jack Johnson had three of L.A.’s eight giveaways.

The in between: Mitchell is playing in his 100th game as a member of the Kings. He has yet to register a hit, blocked shot, shot on goal or any other meaningful statistic.

Kings: Hoping to get in the way of the Avalanche

January, 2, 2012
Kings (19-14-6, 44 points) vs. the Colorado Avalanche (21-18-1, 43 points) at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

1. Pacific view: Thanks to the light NHL schedule on New Year’s Day, the Kings were able to enjoy another 24 hours atop the Pacific Division standings. They made that climb with a 5-0-2 mark over the last seven games, capped by an impressive 4-1 victory Saturday night against the visiting Canucks. The win gave them a one-point edge over division rivals San Jose and Phoenix, though the Sharks have played five fewer games than the Kings and Coyotes. Getting to the top of the Pacific is more of a moral victory anyway. It was just three weeks ago that they fired coach Terry Murray during a miserable stretch of low-scoring, lackadaisical efforts.

2. Kopi-tear? Kings forwards Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards tried the same move on Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo. Richards hit the post on a tough-angle backhand sweep in the first period, Kopitar scored on his attempt in the third, ending a career-long 17-game goal-less streak. The Kings are hoping that will be the spark that ignites Kopitar on one of his hot streaks. Colorado might be arriving at just the right time. Kopitar has carved the Avalanche up in his career, scoring 23 points in 21 games.

3. Noticeably better: The Kings need to score nine goals against the Avalanche to remove the label as the league’s lowest-scoring team. While that probably won’t happen, the Kings have been taking two steps forward and one step back in that area lately, as it was before Darryl Sutter was hired two weeks ago. The Kings have scored 14 goals in six games under Sutter, getting marks from 10 players. Colorado is 20th in the league in goals against and its No. 1 goalie, Semyon Varlamov, has a lofty 3.05 goals-against average.

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Kings: Another game misconduct, win

October, 25, 2010
For the second consecutive game, the Kings lost a forward to a game misconduct penalty, and for the second straight game it didn’t matter.

The Kings defeated the Minnesota Wild, 3-2, in a shootout Monday night at Xcel Energy Arena, despite losing captain Dustin Brown to major penalty caused by a hit to the head of Antti Miettinen midway through the second period.

The Kings (6-2-0) survived the five-minute power play without giving up a goal, then Anze Kopitar tied the score late in the period on the Kings’ second power-play goal of the game.

Kopitar was one of three Kings to score in the shootout as well. Jarret Stoll, who had the other power-play goal, converted the third shootout attempt and Michal Handzus scored on the fifth.

Kings goalkeeper Jonathan Quick, who allowed two goals in the first eight minutes of the opening period, was credited with two consecutive saves to keep the shootout alive, then stopped Miettinen with his left pad against the post to secure the team’s league-leading sixth victory of the season.

Miettinen was following through on a slap shot from the top of the right face-off circle when Brown drove into his upper body with a lowered shoulder. The hit violated Rule 48.1, which forbids a lateral or blind-side hit to an opponent’s head.

In a 6-4 victory Saturday at Colorado, Wayne Simmonds was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for butt-ending Colorado center T.J. Galiardi in the groin area with about eight remaining in regulation.

Simmonds was not further disciplined by the NHL, but Brown's hit will likely have league officials busy with their remote controls Tuesday. The Kings next play in Chicago on Wednesday night.

Kings: Out of Colorado and into the Wild

October, 24, 2010
Kings (5-2-0) vs. Minnesota Wild (3-3-1) at Xcel Energy Center, 5 p.m. (PT)

Five storylines to track:

1. Kings seeing Greene – Kings defenseman Matt Greene made his season debut Saturday night in a 6-4 victory at Colorado. Greene had been recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. To make room for Greene, the Kings assigned defenseman Jake Muzzin to the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL. By not placing Drew Doughty (upper-body injury) on injured reserve to make room for Greene, there’s a strong possibility Doughty could return for Wednesday’s game at Chicago.

2. Richardson on a roll? – Kings forward Brad Richardson tends to score goals in bunches. He went 22 months without a goal before scoring the game-winner in a 4-3 victory against the Ducks last Dec. 1, then scored in the next two games as well. On Saturday night against Colorado, he scored his first goal of the season, then added two more for his first career hat trick.

3. This butt is no joke – Kings forward Wayne Simmonds received a game misconduct and a five-minute major penalty for jabbing Colorado center T.J. Galiardi in the groin wth the butt-end of his stick midway through the third period Saturday night. The league is expected to review the incident, if they haven’t already, but it’s looking more unlikely that Simmonds will face in additional disciplinary action. Galiardi was not seriously injured.

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