A weird phenomenon has happened the last three (well now four) times the Buffalo Sabres visited Staples Center. Not only have they remained scoreless, but the games have ended 2-0. Johnathan Quick this time got his first shutout of the season, and Iginla, Kempe and Brown registering some cool stats.
The first period went exactly the way I expected. The Kings outshot the Sabres 15-2 and yet left the period tied at 0. In 20 minutes Jonathan Quick
literally made no saves; the post did the work both times. Meanwhile at the other end the Kings were generating pressure yet unable to finish. (Where have I heard that before? Oh, every game this season? Right.) Jeff Carter
played takeaway with the Sabres a few times before ultimately getting the puck to Tyler Toffoli
in front of the net, but Toffoli was surrounded by Sabres and couldn’t get a shot off. Drew Doughty
ended up in the penalty box early in (he was just hugging him from behind ref! That’s not cross checking! Okay fine.) As usual the Kings killed it off eloquently; so well in fact that the best shot in those 2 minutes was from Derek Forbert. Adrian Kempe
drew a penalty with 2:02 remaining (ooh 2 extra seconds of a power play essentially, will the Kings do anything with it? No, no they won’t.) I would have offered the goal the penalty had prevented. Le sigh.
Welcome to the most boring second period of all time. The chances at either end were essentially the same. The Kings lost a few more faceoffs than they won (also not shocking). They were actually outhit, go figure. But the puck went up the ice, then down the ice, hem back up and ever in the net. There weren’t even any spectacular chances, nothing that left fans going ‘ooh!’ Or ‘so close!’ Or even ‘ahhh what’s happening?!’ I was even jonesing for a penalty to change things up.
Finally, the second period gave us some action! 36 seconds in Jerome Iginla scored his third goal as a King, his second game winning goal. After some great play around the boards from Dustin Brown
and Iginla, Anze Kopitar
got Iginla’s rebound back to him for a slick wrister Lehner was unprepared for. (I may be prepared to take back my initial reaction to the Iginla trade. He and Kopitar do have great chemistry.) 1:01 later in an oh so Kings move, Trevor Lewis
made his way to the penalty box in which I was fully prepared for the Kings to give up the goal immediately, to which I was happy to be proven wrong. Things started to get feisty from that point on, with many after the whistle scuffles the refs broke up before they could get anywhere (including an O’Reilly jab at Doughty after the whistle I thought was a little shady.) It was up to Kyle Clifford
and Sabres captain Mark Folignio to settle things hockey style – by throwing the gloves and going at it. (Honestly it was the loudest the crown had been all night, including the goal.) Actually a fight that was worth it, and one that the game probably needed.
Meanwhile Quick was being Quick like, making spectacular save up on spectacular save. So many in fact I was getting slightly concerned that a 1 goal lead was not that convincing. How convenient, a power play with 7:27 remaining. What’s that? A second goal? Why thank you Kings! I give full credit to Brown for battling along the boards (again) to get the puck to Doughty (an effort on the power play he could just as easily have given up on and let the Sabre clear the puck), who passed back to Adrian Kempe. Kempe flicked it fast and true, getting his second NHL goal and Brown his 500th point.
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