The Los Angeles Kings went 1 and 1 at home to begin their 2013-14 season. LA lost their home opener to the New York Rangers, but rebounded with a solid win over the Ottawa Senators. The Kings were polar opposites from game 1 to 2.
The Kings came out sluggish in their home opener Monday night versus the Rangers and it resulted in mistake after mistake. LA had 17 giveaways and just could not get it together the whole game. The Rangers did not show much either, just waiting for any Kings mistake and pouncing on it.
The first goal of the game came by way of a Drew Doughty giveaway in the defensive zone with Brad Richards scoring for the Rangers. Richards again scored for the Rangers in the 2nd period off another Kings giveaway. Jake Muzzin was able to get LA on the scoreboard in the 2nd.
The giveaways kept piling up for the Kings into the 3rd period while the Rangers held firm defensively, not allowing much space for the Kings’ forwards. The Kings had a chance in the 3rd when New York committed a penalty. Unfortunately, Jonathan Quick committed an unbelievable mistake which resulted in a shorthanded goal for the Rangers. Quick came out of his net to retrieve the puck, but in the process lost his stick and while reaching for it the puck deflected off his thigh pad and went into the net.
After this disastrous goal the whole Kings team and arena was deflated. Not much else occurred in the 3rd and the final score was 3 to 1 in favor of the New York Rangers. Not the way the Kings envisioned their home opener to go.
The Kings then took on the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night. The Kings were hoping to leave their fans happy with their performance. The game started out slow with not many shots from either team in the first few minutes. Ottawa had the first power play of the game and showed off their crisp passing and mobility. The talent on the ice for the Senators was better than that of the Rangers and the Kings had to be at the top of their game if they wanted to win this game. Penalties and the execution of the power play was the key in this game. The Kings held firm on the Senators’ power play and Dustin Brown was able to score the first goal of the game off a missed shot by the Senators. Brown came racing out of the penalty box and finished a one on one opportunity against Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson. The rest of the 1st period consisted of Ottawa mistakes which led to power plays for the Kings. LA scored off of two power plays, Jeff Carter scoring the first and Dustin Brown scoring off the second power play. At the end of the first the Kings had 4 power plays to the 2 of the Ottawa Senators.
The Kings had already matched their season high in goals by the start of the 2nd period with 3. The Senators played with more urgency in the 2nd and 3rd period and controlled the puck throughout. Ottawa reduced the deficit to 2 after the 2nd period and had no penalties. It was much of the same in the 3rd with Ottawa first scoring on a power play and then tying the game with only 5 minutes left. The whole arena went quiet, but the Kings picked up the pace towards the end of the 3rd and looked more likely to score. The game went into overtime and with less than 30 seconds into the OT Jeff Carter scored by deflecting a Mike Richards shot into Craig Anderson’s net.
Los Angeles salvaged their home stand with a solid victory over the Ottawa Senators, but there is a lot to improve on. The Kings did cut down on their giveaways going from 17 versus the Rangers to only 9 against the Senators. The fluidity is not there yet for this Kings team as it seems like all the lines still need time to gel together. Coach Daryl Sutter switched up the lines in the Senators game by moving Matt Frattin down to the 3rd line and inserting Daniel Carcillo into the 2nd line. Frattin has been a disappointment so far as he has yet to score and seems lost at times out there on the ice. The defense needs to cut down on errors as well as they have allowed 2 or more goals in every game so far. The Kings are currently 2 and 2 on the season, but still have not played at their full potential. Next up for LA is a trip to Carolina to face the Hurricanes.