Dancing in the Reign: Kings continue streak, Winners in C-bus; Big Weekend ahead.
The wins keep on coming, and a comfortable separation from the 8th and final Western Conference spot has begun to blossom. Yes, we’ve seen the Kings in the top 6 in the Conference earlier this season, but at this time of the year? It sends a stronger message, and one this team can continue to build off of. Holding on to the positioning and continuing to climb the Western can take a little tension off a young team in March and April. Fresh off of their fourth consecutive victory, with three on the road, the Kings are playing the way I envisioned them during their 7-game home stretch earlier this month. Proving they can win on the road, and proof of that (17-10-1) is a good asset to have in a young team; Especially when they own a winning mark at home as well. The Kings came out a bit sluggish in the first period but got under their feet after Jonathan Quick allowed them to mulligan the first 10 minutes.
Notes from tonight’s victory:
– Great performance from Jonathan Quick, but more importantly, great start. Columbus had a few golden opportunities to take a quick lead, and more, right off the bat. However, Quick’s strong presence allowed the Kings time to regain their composure. 29 saves for Quick, and only 9+ minutes from the shutout.
– Nice to see Matt Greene score, but the key to the play was brought to you by, what I feel, is Alexander Frolov’s greatest asset. If Frolov proves himself at one thing, it’s controlling the puck in the corner. His strength and positioning with the puck is always fun to watch when he has control down-low. This time, he utilized his skill of protection and positioning behind the goal-line to turn out of the corner and find Greene open at the point. Nice shot from Matt, better play by Fro.
– Two goals tonight from Mr. Kopitar, who may be regaining that early season dominance. Anze utilized Gretzky’s cross-slot maneuver to force Columbus’ goalie Steve Mason to move. Kopitar used the space given to spread out the defense which caused Mason to re-position himself. This allowed Kopitar to shoot across his body to hit the open far corner. Anze Kopitar netted his second of the game for the 100th goal of his career. This tally put the nail in the coffin, as #11 buried his own rebound on a 3rd period power-play. Congratulations, Anze.
– Ryan Smyth now has 16 goals after scoring in his second consecutive game. Don’t forget, he was sidelined for a month with an upper-body injury, so that stat is even more impressive. What a key addition to the team.
Back-to-back games at Boston on Saturday and at New Jersey on Sunday. Boston has struggled offensively as of late, but expects Marc Savard to return this weekend when the Kings visit New England. New Jersey sits at 2nd in the Eastern Conference, so a tough match-up awaits Los Angeles on Sunday. My 3-1-1 prediction for the Road-trip is still a possibility, but with the 3-0-0 start, I only hope they surpass my expectations. Predictions for the weekend?