Kopitar and Carter both pulled off some dandy moves to ensure a win in the overtime shootout. Our shootout record is a bit sketchy, as any long time Kings’ fan knows. I was white knuckling the edges of my chair during the shootout.
Additionally, this ruins the Wild’s streak of winning all 11 home openers since the inception of the franchise. Sure, they can claim they haven’t lost in regulation but we all know the truth. The Wild had a pretty nifty player intro for their home crowd. It’s a shame their home crowd didn’t seem to care much. In Staples that type of intro would be met with screams, roars and battle cries.
If this game doesn’t feel familiar, I don’t know what does. Some sub-par play throughout most of the game broken up by moments of tremendous individual effort and teamwork highlights the Kings’ play style. Quick kept us in the game through the first two periods in order to buy the boys time to wake up in the third (Kings fans are used to being self hating even when we win, right?)
Shortly after puck drop, Cooke “cooke-d” a puck in the net and past Jonathan Quick. That may have taken a bit of the wind out of our sails for the night. It was pretty clear that he leaned into that leg and made a distinct forward motion with it. Regardless, the ruling from Toronto was that it was decided based on the speed and force of the puck rather than Cooke’s leg motion. Engblom did make a quick verbal slip and called it a “Cooke-ing” motion which was priceless. Fraser got into a collision with Ballard that resulted in blood, a scrap and a penalty (hockey is back!). Is it just me, or does it seem that the new helmet rules when it comes to fighting serve to throw players off and distract them when they should be focusing on delivering a pounding?
Penalties seemed to be the story of the game for us tonight. We had quite a few bad penalties (10 to be exact) at inopportune times. While some of them were poor calls (Clifford clearly did not trip anyone, Fraser did) the majority of them were proper calls. Sutter did a little line shuffling (thank the hockey gods for that seeing as he had King on the first line to start the game) throughout the match. The announcers spoke quite a bit about the hatred Wild fans have for Dustin Brown. Get over yourselves. Brown was protecting the puck and Pominville decided to run his face into Brown’s elbow. That’s just poor planning.
The boys looked a bit scrambled and chaotic throughout the first two periods as the Wild did play quite a strong game. Quickie kept us in there long enough for Doughty to hammer in a quick pass from Voynov and for Carter to work his magic. Then, he stood tall in the shootout.
0-1 MIN, Cooke with assists by Brodziak and Granlund.
This was the goal formerly mentioned. Cooke clearly “Cooke-d” the puck in off his shin but the officiating team decided to call it good. Okay, we won anyway. Time to let it go.
1-1 LAK, Doughty with assists by Voynov and Kopitar
Powerplay goal. A simple puck cycle followed by a wind up and a hammer rivaling that of Thor. Kopitar, Voynov and Doughty passed it back and forth very quickly with no cradling time. Voynov quickly slid it over to Doughty with perfect placement and he brought it home.
1-2 MIN, Brodin with an assist by Niederreiter
Powerplay goal. Everyone got drawn into the play against the right boards and Brodin was wide open and unchallenged on the left side. Niederreiter managed to get the loose puck to Brodin and he sniped it past Quick. Doughty was down on the ice and had lost his stick in the exchange while Regehr was playing fairly deep into the play.
2-2 LAK, Carter with assists by Frattin and Regehr.
Richards puts the puck into play and Regehr keeps it in the zone. He feeds it to Frattin who fires off a mediocre wrist shot. Carter slides into position perfectly and backhands it up and over Backstrom.
Quick stopped 27 of 29 shots for a save percentage of .931. He made some great stops and kept the boys in the game. He faced a flurry of rebounds on multiple occasions. He is undoubtedly the reason we had an opportunity to win this game. In the shootout he performed tremendously. On the first shot he gave Parise nothing to shoot at and he mismanaged his “move.” He drew Koivu in on round 2 then slid out to poke check him.
Backstrom stopped 16 of 18 shots for a save percentage of .889. While he did make a few good saves, he did not have to face many quality scoring chances. He did not stop either of the two shootout opponents he faced. Kopitar and Carter both undressed him with quick hands and sharp shooting.
Box Score, Stats for the Game
Carcillo, Ellerby and Martinez were scratched for tonight’s exchange. As I preached through all of last season, I still believe Martinez should have been slotted for this match.