-The Kings played pretty well last night. I dare say they outplayed the Sharks for most of the game. What really was the difference in the game was the Sharks' excellent special teams against the Kings, whose own special teams were surprisingly sucky. The Kings had 5 power plays to the Sharks' 1, yet it was the Sharks who had the lone power play goal of the game. To make matters worse, the Sharks' other goal came short-handed thanks to a pretty monumental fuck-up by Drew Doughty. The Kings still don't really feel like they have any movement or life on their power play; it's just station-to-station, which is too easy to defend.
-The Kings match up surprisingly well with the Sharks when they play at Staples Center. The Thornton line was pretty much shut down all game thanks to the combined efforts of Michal Handzus and Matt Greene (who is built to stop Joe Thornton), while Anze Kopitar's line was able to generate some chances against the Marcel Goc-led stopper line of the Sharks. The only real battle occurred between Dustin Brown's line and Milan Michalek's, which was probably a win for the Sharks. I imagine that line looks a lot better with Joe Pavelski centering it.* It's weird, though, because when the Kings play at the Shark Tank they're completely outmatched. Just shows the importance of the final change.
*What happens when Cheechoo comes back? I think a Michalek-Pavelski-Goc line is better than anything with Cheechoo on it. Does he play the 4th line?
-Good spirited contest between Raitis Ivanans and Jody Shelley last night:
This is the kind of fight the deranged guys over at Hockey Fights drool over. Ivanans is good at using his left hand to throw his opponent off balance, but Shelley is a big fucker and can't really be tossed about. It's surprisingly technical for a bunch of thugs.
-Jason Labarbera... I mean, God bless him. I don't think we can comprehend how much he probably hates the shootout. Imagine if you're Earl Sleek, and you spend your whole life becoming good at programming computers or whatever the hell it is he does. You move up through the ranks of your company, finally get the job you've always dreamed of, and then they tell you, "Alright, Earl, you're going to do the job we hired you for, plus we're going to make you occasionally talk to women." Of course, since you're Earl, you have no idea how to talk to women and you fail miserably whenever you do it. That's what it's like for Labarbera; he never expected that when he came up to the NHL that they were suddenly going to make shootouts important, and now he has to flounder around like a seagull caught in a soda can holder while 15,000 people curse his name. He has faced 7 shooters in shootouts so far this season and he's stopped 1. 1. 1. 1. He is quite possibly the worst shootout goaltender in the history of the National Hockey League. I honestly think I might be better. The next time the Kings enter a shootout with Labarbera in net, I seriously advocate putting whoever the back-up in place of him. Put Doughty in net. Anybody but Labarbera.