Last night was the Kings’ home opener. While they were able to spoil the party for Minnesota, eventually stealing 2 points in a shootout, New York more readily returned the favor with a 3-1 victory in regulation.
It was an interesting game for sure because neither team seemed particularly sharp. Both teams were making a lot of mistakes and turnovers but everything just seemed worse on the Kings’ end. By now most people have probably seen the video of the fluky shorthanded goal that Quick allowed when he went out to play the puck. But the loss can by no means be hung on his shoulders. In fact, it was his stellar up to that point performance that had been keeping the score 2-1.
The Kings were credited with a whopping 17 giveaways to New York’s 8. Not to discredit the Rangers for their stellar play that caused these turnovers, but it was very un-Kings like to make quite so many errors.
The most interesting part of the game, though, is that the underlying numbers indicate that both teams were about dead even. Via ExtraSkater.com,
|5v5 (47.4 min played)|
|5v5 close (31.7 min played)|
|5v5 tied (13.5 min played)|
Corsi is defined as “the plus/minus amount of shots directed at a net while at even strength-blocked shots, shots high and wide, shots that hit, shots that get tipped, etc. Fenwick is almost the exact same as Corsi, but it doesn’t count blocked shots-the reason for this is that it is entirely possible that blocking shots is a skill, and not just a series of random events.” (via matchsticksandgasoline.com)
Based on the chart above, both teams had exactly the same amount of puck possession time. (When it comes to statistics, as we all may remember from school, a small difference usually means they’re virtually the same.) So where did the Kings go wrong if they were about dead even with the Rangers? While both teams had the same amount of possession, the biggest difference was that Rangers applied more pressure, created more turnovers and simply put the puck towards the net more often.
The first goal was a turnover by Drew Doughty, who was then bailed out by his defense partner and his goalie only to have the puck deflect off his head in an attempt to block the shot. The second goal was good pressure by the Rangers to exploit young sophomore Jake Muzzin into turning the puck over before Brad Richards slid it through a sprawling Quick’s 5 hole. The third goal was just the gift of
the Hockey Gods mocking Kings fans [note: that’s a joke] of Jonathan Quick making a human error. He dropped his stick and the puck went off his blocker. Angry at himself, he decided to be sure the Rangers would score no more goals the rest of the night. He even took the “Bronx cheer” in stride, waving at the crowd the next time he stopped the puck. (Side note: that was very cruel and more important, stupid of fans to do that to him. He’s a world class goalie who will likely be starting for Team USA in Sochi and he’s capable of making a mistake; for goodness sake, he’s only human. He’s also the only reason the score was 2-1 up to that point.)
The Kings’ lone goal came 4 on 4 when good effort by Mike Richards kept the puck in the Rangers’ zone and Muzzin was able to capitalize on a rebound alone in front of the net.
Los Angeles hopes to rebound tomorrow from a poor showing when they welcome Bobby Ryan and the Senators.