One strong or weak period doesn’t make or break an 82-game season, obviously, but the Los Angeles Kings looked mighty for the first 20 minutes of Saturday’s match against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
With three goals on nine shots, the Kings chased Ben Bishop from the Lightning net.
This 3-0 goal in the waning moments probably did Bishop in:
Andrei Vasilevskiy has been hot lately, so the Lightning likely hope that he can stop the bleeding for a comeback. So far, it’s a good start, as Nikita Kucherov batted in a puck early in the second period to make it 3-1.
Update: The Lightning made things interesting, but a Justin Williams goal sealed the deal for a 4-2 Los Angeles win.
The only concern for the Kings tonight is that Alec Martinez went down with an injury. At the moment, it’s unclear how severe it is, but another defenseman down would be a big problem.
The soft spot in the B’s defense picked on Wednesday night was the pairing of Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid. The duo relies on rugged physicality to make up for a lack of foot speed as Boston’s middle defensive pairing, but it wasn’t working vs. the Rangers as they finished minus-2 in the loss, and were routinely on their heels vs. speedy Rangers forwards like Nash, Derick Brassard, Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin among others.
McQuaid, of course, has been asked to do a lot more since Johnny Boychuk was traded to the Islanders. The 28-year-old has been playing 18 or 19 minutes a game this season, whereas he averaged 13:02 during the 2011 playoffs and 14:47 in the 2013 postseason.
This isn’t meant to pick on McQuaid. He’s just no Boychuk. The Kings are experiencing similar issues without Slava Voynov playing the right side on the second pair, with Alec Martinez being asked to do more.
And just like that’s a challenge for GM Dean Lombardi in Los Angeles, it’s a challenge for Peter Chiarelli in Boston. The Bruins don’t have a ton of cap space; that’s why they traded Boychuk in the first place. And they’ll be hesitant to give up significant assets for a rental (like, say, Cody Franson) they may not be able to re-sign.
PHT Morning Skate: Wolski shows off nice hands in shootout goal
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Wojtek Wolsk, who now plays for Torpedo Nizhny Novgoro in the KHL, showed off his soft hands during the shooutout in a recent game against HC Dynamo Moscow.
Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Monday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.