Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter changed his team’s lines after the offense went stagnant. Those alterations seemed to open everything up, as his Kings won a wild Thursday contest against the Phoenix Coyotes 7-4.
Anze Kopitar (one goal, two assists) and Dwight King (first career hat trick) helped L.A. build a 4-0 lead, but Phoenix didn’t roll over, tying things up 4-4 during a wild 13-minute span from the middle of the second to the early part of the third.
The Kings’ line shuffles kept paying off all night, however, as Mike Richards scored his first goal of the season – and game winner – less than two minutes after Shane Doan tied things up 4-4, while Matt Frattin generated a tip-in to make it 6-4. King capped it off with his hat trick goal on an empty-net to make it 7-4.
So, to summarize: the Kings built a 4-0 lead, saw it evaporate to a 4-4 tie before winning 7-4.
Yup, that’s a weird night. If Sutter muttered to himself “Can I please get some offense?” then this was a classic case of “be careful what you wish for.”
Then again, maybe he’s just onto something.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: