Alexei Ponikarovsky – Mr. Game Three?

Poni on Ryan Smyth mullet night

When Alexei Ponikarovsky signed with the Kings in July 2010 the hope was that he’d be able to replace the goals lost with the departure of Alexander Frolov.

It seemed reasonable enough, Ponikarovsky had averaged 20 goals for five straight seasons. If he couldn’t replace them all, he should at least come close.

Or so everybody thought.  Yet, when the 82-game regular season wrapped up a little over a week ago, Ponikarovsky had five goals to show for it – and none since March 9th in Detroit.

However, his defensive play has shined, especially in the second half of the season.

Then, in game one of the playoffs, another dimension of his game took shape, as he was second on the team with six hits.  It was a number he reached only twice all season and not in quite some time.  In fact, since scoring that goal vs. the Red Wings, he averaged just two hits per game over the final month of play.

MM:  In the first game you had six hits and then none in the second game. Were you more amped up for the first game, was it a result of the lines being shuffled in the second game due to Jarret Stoll‘s suspension or something else entirely?

AP: I think the first game (of a series) is usually more intense. The second game, maybe I didn’t have opportunities. I was trying to get a hit. But, we had a little change to the line-up, where our line didn’t play as much because Jarret was out. We had to move Trevor (Lewis) up to the second line. Because we were down a center, the coaching staff was trying to match up with their lines and that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

MM: Obviously the outcome was different, but did you notice any differences in the way the team was playing between the two games?

AP: I think we were expecting them to come out hard in the first period in the first game and that’s what happened. Then, everything settled in. We started playing our game and executing the system. Basically, it works and that’s why we’ve been getting success. So, we just have to stick with it for the rest of the series.

In 36 career playoff games – mostly with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins – Ponikarovsky has two goals.

Both times, he found the back of the net in the third game of a series.

Can he do it again tonight?

The Mayor
www.twitter.com/MayorNHL
www.facebook.com/MayorsManor

RELATED ARTICLES:

POLL – Loudest Kings Game at Staples Center?

Ryan Smyth for Looking For Help From Seventh Attacker in Game Three

Ponikarovsky’s Points and Westgarth’s Fists

Ponikarovsky Wants to Win ‘Em All

Welcome to LA – 10 Tidbits on Ponikarovsky

photo courtesy of Michael Zampelli

Recent Articles

NHL RADIO REPLAY: Mayor’s Minutes, the Draft, Mindset of Kings Fans

Follow @mayorNHL
Enjoy a free replay of this week’s Mayor’s Minutes on NHL Network Radio, where John Hoven joined host Jim ‘Boomer’ Gordon to discuss the current state of mind for SoCal hockey fans, look back at the 2010 NHL Draft in Los Angeles, and so much more.
For some bonus / related content, check out this […]

SPORTSNET RADIO REPLAY: Hoven on What the NHL Should and Should Not Do Next

Follow @mayorNHL
Enjoy a free replay of John Hoven on Sportsnet Radio in Toronto, where he joined host Roger Lajoie for a look at some of the ideas surrounding what the NHL should and should not do next – from starting the season back up, to the Draft Lottery, to neutral site games, free agency, trades […]

NHL Radio Replay: Hoven on Kings Season Status, Prospects, and Draft Lottery

Follow @mayorNHL
Enjoy a free replay of this week’s Hot Stove, where John Hoven joined hosts David Pagnotta, Dennis Bernstein, and Ryan Paton to evaluate what’s next for the LA Kings, including: a possible return to the ice, 2020 Draft Lottery, top prospects coming to AHL Ontario, Todd McLellan, roster changes over the summer, compliance buyouts, […]

Major News Items

LA Kings 2020 Prospect Rankings – Goalie Depth Chart

Before we get started here, some context… While normally our Midseason Prospect Rankings come out shortly after the World Junior Championships, we held off in anticipation of any deals the Kings may make prior to the … [Read More...]

More Prospect News