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The Key Three: Feb. 22

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Three key aspects of the Kings 4-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche...

This could have gone one of two ways. Less than 24 hours after the Kings blew a three-goal first-period lead and lost to Phoenix in a shootout, they faced Colorado. They could either come out angry, ready to fight and simply freight-train the Avalanche, or they could come out with their heads hung and get roasted by a motivated, more-rested opponent. It was the latter. Perhaps Darryl Sutter had a feeling it was coming. The Kings scored four goals in Phoenix, but he shuffled the lines, putting Mike Richards with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams. Perhaps Sutter knew the Kings needed a boost. If so, he was correct but it didn’t matter.


Things sure have changed since the days when Terry Murray sat Jonathan Quick after three consecutive shutouts. Last night, Quick got the nod again, immediately following what was arguably his worst outing of the season. Darryl Sutter’s presumed reasoning was understandable. Quick is quite possibly the most competitive player on the Kings’ roster, and no doubt he was stewing all day about the loss to the Coyotes. It certainly wasn’t unreasonable to think that Quick might bounce back and channel his frustration into a bounce-back effort. Well, it didn’t happen. Quick got beat seven minutes into the game and was on the bench by the start of the second period.

If the Kings needed to take any consolation from their 3-0 deficit at the end of the first period, they needed  only to look back 24 hours. In Phoenix, the Kings led 3-0 after the first period, but the Coyotes rallied to win. So, it wasn’t impossible, but the Kings needed to do what the Coyotes did: catch an early break -- a power play, perhaps -- score a goal, get some momentum and play aggressively and with confidence. Well, It didn’t happen. The Kings finally showed some life with a big scrum nine minutes into the second period, but less than four minutes later, the Avalanche scored a fourth goal with the type of crash-the-net presence that the Kings lacked all night.
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