The last time the Kings and Blue Jackets met LA had lost five straight games and wasn’t exactly off to a hot start in 2011.
What a difference a month makes.
Entering play tonight in Columbus the Kings were 7-0-2 in their last nine games and finally seemed to have worked out whatever was ailing them just a few weeks ago.
They won a few games heading into the All Star break – which coach Terry Murray used to go back into his lab and try to create some team speed. In an interview posted here earlier this week, he said he liked what he has seen since then, explaining in detail about how he was using his centers.
This easily could have been a game where the Kings backed off, coming after two big wins over the weekend. Instead, they scored the first goal of the game and kept charging all night long.
Rick Nash, who is slowly becoming the new Shane Doan or Brendan Morrow – a true Kings killer – scored a BEAUTIFUL goal to tie things at 2-2 in the second period. Earlier this year Jarret Stoll said “You can’t give him too much time and space.”
In that same article he went on to say “If you respect good players too much (respect), by the end of the night they’ll have three points.”
Nash did. One goal, two assists.
[more notes and video highlights after the jump]
Unfortunately, after going ahead 3-2 in the third period they also let the Blue Jackets tie it up with less than two minutes to go. However, Stoll – yes, that guy again! – netted the only goal in the shootout, while Quick closed things down on the other end.
As I wrote about at the time, it will forever be a mystery why coach Murray didn’t select Stoll for the shootout in Minnesota a few weeks ago. He had won the very game before in a shootout for the Kings. So, it seemed like a natural. When I asked Murray about it last week he said he understands the criticism, but felt the Kings overall record in the shootout justified his picks. For bonus info, he also noted Stoll wasn’t going to go fourth either had the Kings extended the shootout in Minnesota. They didn’t. They lost. And they missed out on that extra point – which of course, looms large in the uber tight Western Conference.
Tonight Stoll got the call and the Kings won. He’s now scored in five of six chances in the shootout this year - tops on the team.
* The Kings are now 8-0-2 in their last 10. The last time they had a 10 game point streak was in 1980! The franchise record is 11, set in 1974.
* They also killed off both penalties in the game. That’s 13 straight now.
* There were no fights in the game.
Several MayorsManor readers were at the game in Columbus and they sent over some pics of the team during warm-ups – you can view them here.
Tomorrow I’ll have several articles about the Kings in New York, including comments from the team about playing at MSG, Alexander Frolov missing the game and more.