The Los Angeles Kings began their season with a mini road trip to Minnesota and Winnipeg. The Kings first traveled to Minnesota to face the Wild and they were sluggish to say the least. The Kings were outshot in the first and second period a combined 24 to 11. Minnesota was able to take the lead after the first, going up 2 to 1. It was evident that Minnesota had improved since last season and they were looking to make a statement in front of their home crowd.
The Kings were dominated in the first 2 periods, but Drew Doughty was able to get a goal for the Kings. LA held around all game, as the Wild were not able to increase their lead in the 3rd. There were only a total of 11 shots by both teams in the 3rd, but the Kings were able to capitalize on a late opportunity. Leading scorer from last season, Jeff Carter pounced on a rebound and sent home the tying goal. The score stayed tied at 2 in regulation and in overtime and it was all decided in a shootout. Jonathan Quick capped off his masterful night by stopping both of Minnesota’s attempts. Both Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter scored for the Kings to seal their first victory of the season.
The Kings then traveled the next day to Winnipeg to play the Jets. The Kings came out with more energy and were mostly in the Jets zone for the first few minutes. LA peppered Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec with shot after shot, but were only able to get one shot by him. Defender Matt Greene scored on a power play as the Kings took the lead in the 1st. The Kings outshot the Jets 18 to 7 in the 1st, but the Jets were able to tie the game up late in the period with a long shot from Evandar Kane.
The 2nd featured less shots and goals, but continued at a fast pace. The Jets had more of the possession in this period and scored the only goal of the period by way of center Oli Joikinen. The 3rd period also went the Jets way as they tacked on 2 more goals to spread their lead to 4 to 1. The Kings still had fight in them and cut the deficit to only 1 as both Justin Williams and Jeff Carter scored on separate power plays. Los Angeles kept the pressure on until the last minute when the Jets scored an empty netter. The final score was 5 to 3.
There are a few positives to take back from this road trip. First, the Kings have fight in them, a never say die attitude as they came back in Minnesota to get the win and made it close in Winnipeg. Second, the talent is evident on this team from the back to the front. Anybody can score at any time for this team. Lastly, the power play will be a strength for the Kings as 4 of their 5 goals came on the power play. The Kings however do need to work on getting back on defense as specifically the Jets exploited this by countlessly have an advantage on their counter attacks. Going 1 and 1 on this road trip is okay to begin the season, but the Kings have to keep improving and reduce the mistakes. Next up for LA is their home opener on Monday night against the New York Rangers.
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