Kempe, Kings cream Ducks; Grosenick wins first start since 2014

While games in hand muddy things, the Kings came into Wednesday with only four more standings points than the Ducks. After a one-sided win for the Kings, it’s easy to see why Los Angeles has a chance to the make the playoffs, while the Ducks probably can’t wait for 2020-21 to end.

In particular, this is looking more and more like a very long season for embattled star Ducks goalie John Gibson.

Yes, Gibson’s allowed three goals or more in 10 consecutive starts. But, really, look at how the Ducks hung Gibson out to dry on goals like these, and you’re reminded that it’s not his fault.

Kempe keeps it up

Heading into this season, Adrian Kempe‘s career-high for goals was 16, and his best points total is 37. Despite this being a pandemic-shortened season, Kempe might find a way to reach new peaks in both areas.

At minimum, this is the hottest streak of Kempe’s career. After generating a hat trick against the Ducks on March 8, he almost did it again on Wednesday (March 10).

Kempe ended up settling for two goals, extending his goal streak to three games (six goals). With that, Kempe matched last season’s goal total of 11.

It was really a total team offensive effort, with Anze Kopitar and others shining in a game where the Kings looked far, far ahead of the Ducks.

Troy Grosenick the other big story of Kings – Ducks

Six years, three months, and 22 days. That’s how long Troy Grosenick waited between NHL starts.

You could make some arguments that Grosenick never should have waited that long.

For one thing, Troy Grosenick pitched a 45-save shutout in his NHL debut, blanking the Carolina Hurricanes while the goalie was with the Sharks. It was quite the emotional moment for Grosenick’s family:

He’d only end up playing in two games for the Sharks in November 2014, and since had only appeared in the AHL. Again, he probably should’ve stumbled upon another chance or two since then, though.

In 2019-20, Grosenick generated a .920 save percentage for the Milwaukee Admirals, and he managed a .919 save percentage the AHL season before that.

You’d think the goalie-deprived Sharks would’ve given Troy Grosenick a chance in 2016-17, in particular. Grosenick put together a 30-10-2 AHL record that season while sporting a .926 save percentage.

Either way, Grosenick played brilliantly for the Kings, who were without Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen. Making 33 out of 34 saves is impressive, even if the Ducks looked dismal at times on Wednesday.

Maybe Grosenick will get more than a couple chances to prove himself as an NHL goalie this time around? (Frankly, if the Kings can give him a chance, they should probably find someone else who will. Maybe, um, the Sharks?)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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