Kings on Pace for 82-0 Season


Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images

Despite having played a game on another continent in an arena that clearly favored the other team, the Kings are now 1-0 at “home.” Good thing they only have to do this once! Oh wait…

My grades for the Kings players:

Anze Kopitar: A : I couldn’t be happier with how he looked. He very nearly scored less than one minute into the game (Lundqvist glove save), and then actually put it in the net a few minutes later off of a NY turnover in their zone. His timing looked much better than I could have anticipated. He and Willie were clicking like it was mid-season.

Mike Richards: A : How, exactly, was he not one of the 3 stars of the game? His goal was a beaut, and JJ’s game winning goal was totally set up by Richards. He made his presence felt the whole game and had an awesome start to his Kings career.

Justin Williams: A : He and Kopi were like Yin and Yang, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Barats and Bereta. Showed tons of heart and creativity and nearly scored on more than one occasion. His beautiful pass set up Kopitar’s 1st period goal.

Alec Martinez: A : Wow did Martinez look awesome. Decisive, quick, smart – I think I heard the Versus announcers drooling on their microphones when talking about him. He had a few blasts that were on net and a few very nice passes under pressure. He’s off to a good start in proving last year was not a fluke.

Brad Richardson: B+ : His forechecking was clearly an annoyance to the Rangers. Had great work along the boards and set up Richards’s goal nicely.

Willie Mitchell, Rob Scuderi, Matt Greene: B+ : If you don’t notice them, you know these “stay-at-home” defensemen are doing their job.

Jack Johnson: B : Scored the game winning goal, and actually had several slap shots from the point on the power play that were on net. I know, right? He very nearly blew the game with a horrific turnover in his own end, but he actually played a fairly responsible game otherwise.

Scott Parse: B- : Not great, but not bad either. He set up Hunter for a gimme goal right in front of the net that Hunter just flubbed. Overall, I thought he looked pretty good, all things considered.

Simon Gagne: B- : Seemed to be a little more comfortable with Kopi/Willie than he was with Richards/Brown, amazingly. Nearly had a goal when his shot hit Lundqvist and fluttered over his shoulder towards the goal line, but it was slapped away. Otherwise, was not really noticeable.

Dustin Brown: B- : Should have had a goal, but Lundqvist made a pretty gnarly glove save on a one-timer from the slot. Played with his normal effort, but seemed to be chasing his own tail sometimes. Not bad, but not his best.

Drew Doughty: B– : Had a couple very nice plays in his own end, getting rid of the puck quickly and accurately under pressure. Seemed to be missing that extra gear, save for one charge on net in the 3rd period. Will probably add more offensively when he gets his timing back.

Jonathan Quick : C+ : That was about as shaky a performance you can have when you win, give up only 2 goals and have a .926 S%. But he only had maybe 3 or 4 big-time saves (Lundqvist had at least 8), and he let in a major softie off a horrible angle when he wasn’t squared up to the shooter. He also had his usual heart-attack inducing stick handling adventures. If he’s going to have a 1.88 GAA and a .926 S% all season, I’d take that in a heartbeat. But I’d also like to still have a heartbeat.

Jarret Stoll : C+ : Didn’t have much of an impact on the game, but was defensively responsible through the night and played his usual physical game.

Trevor Lewis: C : Mostly invisible, but no major flubs either.

Kyle Clifford: C- : Ineffective for the most part, and fought a pretty boring fight in the 1st period.

Ethan Moreau : C- : I don’t think I even remember him being involved in any kind of interesting play whatsoever.

Trent Hunter: D- : As I mentioned, he blew a gimme goal right in front of the net on a nice setup from Parse. Also had several flubs in the neutral zone, one of which directly led to the first NY goal.

Team GPA: 2.81 (B/B-). Overall, the Kings gutted out a great win against what I think will be a pretty good Rangers team. Power play needs to be better though (surprise, surprise) and they gotta make sure they don’t turn the puck over in their own zone or the neutral zone. After a scorching hot opening to the game, they cooled off considerably. But they finished the game strong and some clutch play by Mike Richards saved the Kings’ hide. Solid win.

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