Three key aspects of the Kings’ 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets...
1. DOUGHTY, ASSISTED BY CLOCK(?)
Well, nobody can accuse the Kings of not giving a 60-minute effort, or perhaps even a 60-minute, 0.5-second effort. Independent of whether the Blue Jackets got robbed -- they probably did -- give credit to Jack Johnson for having the poise to push the puck to Drew Doughty
, and credit Doughty for an accurate shot under pressure that beat the clock. Well, maybe. Is the Doughty-Johnson power-play magic starting to click again? Doughty and Johnson, on the same power-play unit -- along with Dustin Brown
, Anze Kopitar
and Justin Williams
-- were on the ice for two power-play goals. The Kings went 2-for-3 with the advantage.2. POWER IN THE POWER PLAY
Lest anyone start doing back flips over the Kings’ power play, stop and consider that Columbus’ penalty-kill unit came into the game ranked 29th in the NHL. So when the stoppable force met the movable object, the Kings’ power play went 2-for-3 against the Blue Jackets’ penalty kill. On the other hand, the Kings’ recent power-play efforts should not be entirely dismissed. They are now 9-for-32 on the power play in their last nine games, a very strong success rate of 28.1 percent. If the Kings could stay anywhere close to that, and maintain their penalty-kill success, they would go a long way toward securing a playoff spot.3. FULL-LINEUP BALANCE
The big word for the Kings under Darryl Sutter has been balance. At their best, the Kings can roll four lines and have each one be a threat, and also can get defensemen involved in the offense. Last night, the Kings got a goal from the first line (Justin Williams
, on the power play), the second line (Dustin Penner
) and a defenseman (Drew Doughty
’s game-winning power-play goal). Also, the fourth line didn’t have a lot of offensive chances but was strong on the puck and the forecheck. On the third line, Trevor Lewis
nearly buried a one-timer and Andrei Loktionov
, early in the game, was aggressive in the offensive zone.