Kings beat Hawks. Playoff preview? …and some notes

It was quite the nail biter in Saturday nights game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings. Let’s start off with the return of Jarret Stoll. The Kings finally were able to get that second line center back in the line up, and a much needed boost to the power play as well. Stoll has a wicked shot. The power-play has been good, but can be better.  They have a 20% power-play at home and a 17.1% power play on the road. Overall the power play is at 20% where the Kings have 22 power-play goals on 110 power-play opportunities. The best word to use for this situation is stable, and hopes that it stays that way.

Next up is the always interesting topic of discussion as this season is slowly turning into the season of Jonathan Quick.  What I mean by that you ask?  Well let me answer that for you.  Quick has the ability to be a brilliant goalie in the National Hockey League, and as he grows and develops at the pro level we hope it all comes out (his ability that is). Quick was named the first star of the game against the Hawks and rightfully so. Quick stopped 32 of 33 Hawks shots and led his Kings to a shoot-out victory, 2-1. In his last three games, Quick is 2-1 and has allowed five goals in those three games. Yes, like it has been said previously by yours truly, his best outing (aside from yesterday being a very close second) was in a 4-1 loss (where quick allowed 3 goals) to the Canucks. I have discussed, time and time again, that Quick needs to improve his “average” numbers to numbers of a starting goaltender in the NHL. In order for this team to continue to be a very good team, Quick will hopefully have numbers in the area of: 2.13 GAA and .920 SV%.  Not an impossible accomplishment if you ask me as Quick is adjusting more and more each game.

The top line, and point production of Anze Kopitar has hit a bit of a slide since the Ryan Smyth injury. Kopitar who was tearing up the league has simmered his point totals and Terry Murray has not been able to find a suitable adjustment for the loss. Smyth is still nursing an injury and is not scheduled to come back to action for at least two more weeks. Something needs to be done. I do not think a trade is something that will happen, however, maybe it is finally time to ship Alexander Frolov out of Los Angeles? It does not seem as if he wants to be here any longer anyhow.

A quote from head coach Terry Murray: “If you are going to be a good team, you have to be good home and away.” How right he is. If you can not play a balanced game both on home ice and on the road, then you are not a good team. So far this season, the Kings are 6-4-1 at home and 9-6-1 on the road. Again, we will use the term average to state the obvious. The good thing here is that they have winning records both at home and on the road. Kudos for that.

This week will see the Kings play in Anaheim on Tuesday then they begin a three game home stand. It is a big week for the Kings in my opinion. The outcomes are important and hopefully over the next four games, with eight points on the line, the Kings can get at least six.

I know that Jonathan Quick seems to have my finger pointed at him more often then not, and rightfully so.  Do not let that fool you, there are other situations that this Kings club need to improve on as well. Injuries have hurt, however, when you are a good team you fight through the injuries and your depth players step up when needed.  Teams are put together with depth and role players for obvious reasons. It’s time for this Kings club to go from being .500 (5-5-0) over their last ten games to being an above average team.

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Filed Under: Los Angeles Kings

About the Author: Anthony Curatolo is a 31 y/o New Yorker with a passion for the game that takes him into a different category then the regular run of the mill fan. He has an intense, creative, witty style that will either have you love him or hate him within the first paragraph you read from one of his writings. Growing up in a hockey world (his father was raised in Montreal, and his father brought that passion with him into the States) was a blessing in disguise for Anthony. Hockey has become more then a passion and infatuation for, and he hopes to one day have a career within the sport. Picked up originally by the Checking Line (from guest blogs written for HockeyBuzz), Anthony began blogging on a daily basis. When his original site, the checking line, went down the writing passion started to fall off. A few years later, Crash the Crease was born and Anthony was approached and asked to write for them. Since that time (August '08), Anthony has become a panel member on the websites Sunday talk show, as well as branching off and forming 1/3 of the talk show team called "The Hockey Guys!" Now Anthony takes his mind and his writings to the next level as he begins his journey with Hockey Independent and asks that there are many that join him. The Kings are the team, the style is Independent and the game is Hockey - there is nothing better in the universe. Although his pride bleeds for the Orange and Black (yes folks, the Philadelphia Flyers) Anthony is also a FAN of the game, and has knowledge for all 30 teams within the league coming from his true, pure love for the sport in it's entirety. As a voice of a fan for the fans (as we all know is the "Crash the Crease" and "The Hockey Guys" slogans) there will be debate, controversy, praise and love all combined into one giant thing - blogs by Anthony.

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