3 Things We Learned From The Kings' 5-2 Win Over Colorado – LA Sports Hub
The Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado proved to be the latest crime scene for the relentless Los Angeles Kings.
Three goals in the first period and a goal-a-piece in the two periods after that put a strong nail in the coffin of Colorado’s remote hopes of moving on to the postseason while keping the Kings’ up-and-coming chances ever active.
Here are three things we learned from how the Kings dealt with the Avalanche at hand on Tuesday night:
1. Playing Outside The Box
Los Angeles proved to be the better team in every statistical comparison with the exception of the number of face-offs won and it showed in more than just the box score.
The Kings got goals from five different players against Colorado in a game that showcased their ability to share the puck and still be deadly and effective.
Marian Gaborik opened up the floodgates with a power play goal seven minutes into the action of the first period. Jeff Carter made it 2-0 Kings and Brayden McNabb got in on the action with just over five minutes left to go in the first frame.
Tyson Barrie had a goal for the Avalanche in the first period as well, but it was not nearly enough to carry his team.
Kyle Clifford tallied a goal in the second period while Jake Muzzin put the icing on the cake halfway through the third period.
The goals from Gaborik, Carter, McNabb, Clifford, and Muzzin showcased to the hockey world the one thing that will get them within reach of a repeat of a year ago — unselfish play.
Not only were the Kings able to evenly divide the offensive work, but the defensive efforts came only as a team too. Every time there were isolation opportunities Colorado was either able to score past Jonathan Quick or they were able to get awfully close.
Can’t have that happen come playoff time — if you expect to win at least.
Bottom Line: Los Angeles loves to play Cinderella
Instead of depending on the usual scorers like Gaborik or Carter, the Kings found a way to now through Brayden McNabb in the mix. Sure, it came against a not so great Colorado Avalanche team, but you’ve got to remember that this is the NHL — and it doesn’t get bigger than this for people of the puck.
2. Your Casa, Kings Casa
It was Staples Center where the Kings won their second Stanley Cup in three years last June, but this season has provided a different obstacle for the Kings that does not include poor play at home or nail-biters occurring before the Los Angeles faithful — but there’s certainly no Stanley Cup hangover.
After striking three straight Game 7 road victories en route to a five-game Cup Final victory against the New York Rangers, the Kings have suffered — to put it kindly — this season when away from Los Angeles.
Up to this point in the season the Kings have managed to put up the second-worst road record of any team in the heated Pacific Division that remains a mathematical possibility for a post-season berth. The Arizona Coyotes, with an 11-20-3 standing when away from their home building is not far off from the Kings’ 11-14-16 tally outside of Staples Center.
That could be a problem, right?
While the numbers aren’t promising and it’s not always a great plan as a sports fan (no matter what team) to hinge your hopes so high based off of just one season — that’d be just foolish. But to play the devil’s advocate for a moment, the Kings seem to have started to get back on their high horse the closer and closer the playoffs come.
The best example of this would be during their eight game winning streak from last month. Out of twelve games played in February, Los Angeles came out with a win two-thirds of the time.
These victories included a road victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning (currently top-tier team in the East), a narrow escape two nights later in Columbus against the Blue Jackets, and then a blowout win against Colorado in the later half of the month capped off by a 2-1 win against the Sharks in San Jose.
Talk about too much good stuff.
Bottom Line: Kings are living proof that playing under pressure produces perseverence
If there were ever a time to really start kicking things into gear, it would be now. But since the Kings have been here before, we can rest assured that they are well aware of that.
And they have the win last night in Colorado to prove it.
3. The Goal-Den Opportunity
What’s great news for Kings fans is that the incredible athleticism and performances that Jonathan Quick has given us is just the beginning — oh yeah, he’s just getting started.
Against the Avalanche Quick was able to stop 21/23 shots and kept any chance of Colorado mounting a miraculous comeback in the dreams of those rooting for the home team.
After being drafted a decade ago and playing for seven of those years — two of which came with championships — Quick has done nothing but prove he was worth the wait.
What wait, you might ask? Believe it or not, he wasn’t selected by the Kings until the third round of the 2005 NHL Draft — as the 72nd overall pick.
The only thing the Kings have seemed to get from him has been consistency, and that’s been huge for a team whose lines are rapid fire one minute and then ice cold (no pun intended) the next minute.
Bottom Line: Without Quick, chances to win the Stanley Cup again become wishful thinking
It’s safe to say that without Quick the Kings franchise would be nowhere close to where they find themselves today and the best part is that this season may be the defining season for what looks like a future Hall-of-Famer.