The Los Angeles Kings offense has been as explosive as a firecracker this season, but things were really getting bad tonight. Using tonight’s box score and Helene Elliott’s math, the Kings needed the equivalent of two games and 10 minutes* to score a goal.
Davis Drewiskie found the net 4:33 into the third period and then Dustin Brown notched the game-winner a little less than four minutes later as the Kings topped the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1. That’s a downright deluge of offense for this team.
Impotent offense-related snark aside, the most important thing is that Los Angeles stopped a dispiriting five-game losing streak. It doesn’t change the fact that the Kings’ confidence cannot be too high and it’s troubling that this should-be contender rarely gains any room for error, but at this point, they’ll take it.
* – To be exact, 130 minutes and 35 seconds.
An 82-game season begs for a lot of contests that are called “measuring stick games,” but it seemed excusable to use the term for tonight’s match between the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sure, the Pens aren’t 100 percent, but both teams have been hot lately. It just turns out that the defending champions are even hotter, as they dismissed Pittsburgh by a score of 3-1.
It’s pretty tough to exaggerate Boston’s impressive 15-game record of 14-0-1, too. (That marks the best run they’ve had since they put together 17 consecutive games without a loss in 1983, according to The Associated Press.)
They’ve been winning in much of the same way that they did in the 2011 playoffs. The Bruins managed to blow some teams out, but tends to thrive in their natural habitat: skin-tight games.
Tim Thomas was the star on Monday night, as he stopped 44 out of 45 shots. Matt Cooke (one goal) may remain a thorn in Boston’s sides, but they’re likely pleased that he was the only guy who could do any damage tonight. Tyler Seguin, Gregory Campbell and Benoit Pouliot found the twine for the Bruins.
Again, it’s one game and the Penguins weren’t at 100 percent. Still, this exhibits another profound piece of evidence that the defending champions remain the team to beat, even if they aren’t always the sexiest choice.
For a recap of Islanders-Sabres, Kings-Flyers and Penguins-Rangers, click here. If you ended up missing the game, here’s a rundown of the NBC Game of the Week between Boston and Detroit. Now let’s get on to the two supper-time games. We’ll recap Anaheim-Edmonton later tonight.
Carolina 3, Atlanta 2
The Hurricanes took sole possession of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference over the Thrashers in what had to be a dispiriting loss for Atlanta. The Canes won the game in regulation despite being out-shot 14-4 in the third period and 43-17 overall. (Atlanta also had a frustrating second period, leaving the middle frame tied despite putting 15 more shots on net than Carolina.)
Cam Ward came up huge for the ‘Canes, stopping 41 of the 43 shots he faced. It’s hard not to pin some of the blame on the Thrashers’ workhorse goalie Ondrej Pavelec, who allowed three goals on only 17 shots, but he had some tough breaks in the game.
If the Canes make the playoffs at the expense of the Thrashers, it might be as simple as this fact: Carolina has beaten their division rivals five times in a row now.
Statheads will probably cringe at this, but it’s hard to argue with how “clutch” Erik Cole has been this season. Six of his 16 goals have been game-winners this season, including this late-game soul-crusher.
Florida 3, San Jose 2
Relief came pretty late for the Panthers, but they finally got a five-game home losing streak off their shoulders with their come-from-behind victory over the Sharks. This also keeps their playoff hopes alive, which is a double-edged sword for Florida fans who have been to that rodeo before.
The Sharks have lost two games in a row, sliding them all the way down to seventh place in the West. Talk about a “what have you done for me lately?” conference.