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

Kings Of the Podcast Ep. 15.1 with Jaret Anderson-Dolan

Feel free to admit it – there are few things in life better than a surprise episode. Yet, here we are, back with Kings of the Podcast Episode 15.1, just a few days after our latest release!
Here’s a very brief look at some of the topics covered this time around:
– JAD talks music, nicknames, […]

Kings Of the Podcast Ep. 15 – with Brian Slagel of Metal Blade Records

With Episode 15 we welcome in old friend Brian Slagel, the founder at Metal Blade Records, and somebody longtime followers of MayorsManor should know well. Here’s a brief look at some of the topics covered:
– A look at the Kings recent roadtrip through Edmonton and Calgary
– Kyle Clifford doing the most Kyle Clifford […]

LA Kings Prospect Tracker – Week Ending December 9, 2019

As the parent club continues to press on and struggle, it’s a mixed bag with the current group of LA Kings prospects – some are continuing to outperform expectations, while others are facing a little adversity. To the latter point, keep in mind some road bumps are expected. Building a road to the future is […]

Major News Items

Kopitar Out, Can Watch His Son Against Arizona

Per recent tradition, it will be the Kings and Coyotes in a pair of split-squad games to open up preseason on Tuesday night. LA captain Anze Kopitar will not suit up, but he will get a chance to watch his son … [Read More...]

More Prospect News