I went on a field trip with my kids yesterday to Legoland. One of things most of the boys of the group wanted to go on were the roller coasters. Heights terrify me, but I have always loved coasters, so I was glad to chaperone them.
The best and the worst part of the roller coaster (at least for me) is the exhilaration of the slow climb to the top and the anticipation of the rapid, stomach-dropping descent.
The Kings played a Saturday and a Monday night game against the Calgary Flames, winning the first with a score of 6-2 and the second 3-1. The success felt great. It was the apex of the coaster.
Instead of resting up, they set out to Glendale, AZ for a Tuesday night game at the Jobing.com Arena. The schedule proved too tiring for the team, whose lack of energy was evident throughout the entire 60 minutes. Los Angeles fell to the Coyotes, 5-2.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter chose to start goalie Jonathan Quick in Thursday night’s game against the San Jose Sharks, which was a questionable move considering the exhausting schedule and Quick’s performance of late. After allowing three goals, Quick was pulled in favor of backup goaltender, Jonathan Bernier, a move that Sutter is rarely seen making, but one that he has had to make all too often the past couple of months.
Quick just isn’t as good in net as he is when he has defensemen Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene in front of him, helping him defend the zone. Without their injuries keeping them out of the game, rookie Jake Muzzin wouldn’t have been recalled from the Kings AHL affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs. He has since scored his first five NHL goals. He also has six assists this season, for a total of 11 points so far. Not too shabby for a new guy. He looks good on the active roster. Unfortunately, Mitchell and Greene would like fabulous.
Bernier allowed one goal in the third period. The Kings trailed 4-1. Captain Dustin Brown, who had scored L.A.’s only goal up to that point, along with Dwight King, each scored with less than ten minutes remaining in regulation. The team rallied hard against the Sharks, but they were unable to get a fourth goal past Sharks goalie Antti Niemi. The game ended in a 4-3 loss for the Kings.
Every fan’s stomach fell to the ground. But the Kings put up a good fight in the end. And at least for now, they stand above both the Coyotes and Sharks in rankings.
Starting tonight, they begin a five-game home stretch before they have to hit the road again to play against the league leading Blackhawks.
One of my boys was happy to wait in line with us for the roller coasters as long as he didn’t have to get on for the ride. I don’t really blame him. Sometimes it’s just too frightening.
Let’s see if the Kings can redeem themselves against the Sharks in tonight’s game and stay in second place for the Pacific Division.