Preview Professor: The Royal Rebound

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The Royal Rebound

We didn’t have to dig too far into the archives this week to bring some notable California hockey history. On this day in 2007, Los Angeles pulled off what would go down in Kings lore as the Royal Rebound. Trailing 4-0 to the Dallas Stars heading into the third period, L.A. rallied back to tie the game and then defeat the Stars 6-5 in overtime. For Kings fans, it certainly ranks up there with the 1982 “Miracle on Manchester,” which saw the Kings recover from a 5-0 deficit against Edmonton and claim victory in overtime. Conversely, for Stars fans, the Royal Rebound conjures up bad memories of a game that almost was and has undoubtedly made them suspicious of four goal leads.

Vancouver Canucks at Columbus Blue Jackets, 4:00PM

2015-16 Season Records: VAN 6-4-5 (2nd in the Pacific); CBJ 4-11-0 (8th in the Metropolitan)

Leading Scorers: Daniel Sedin (4G, 7A); Scott Hartnell (7G, 4A)

Many were skeptical about John Tortorella’s hiring in Columbus, others thought it might be the shot in the arm the team needed.

SutterTorts

The Blue Jackets have been historically bad out of the gate and this season’s start was no exception. The club went 0-7-0 under Todd Richards with a ghastly -21 goal differential. Since Tortorella has taken over, Columbus is 4-4-0 with a +5 goal differential. Worth noting is that while the team didn’t get the results under Richards, they were averaging a 51.8 Corsi For % (5v5). With Torts behind the bench, this has dropped to 45%. Both groupings are very small sample sizes and for now, I’m sure the Columbus brass are elated with the team’s overall improvement.

Prediction: Columbus by 1

Calgary Flames at Florida Panthers, 4:30PM

2015-16 Season Records: CGY 5-9-1 (6th in the Pacific) FLA 5-6-3 (6th in the Atlantic)

Leading Scorers: Johnny Gaudreau (4G, 13A); Jaromir Jagr (6G, 4A)

The last time these two met in Florida, the Flames defeated the Panthers 6-4. Calgary was down 4-3 heading into the final frame but rallied back to defeat Florida by scoring three unanswered goals. Calgary has a great record in Florida, having only been defeated in regulation three times since the Panthers entered the league in 1993. The most recent was thirteen years ago on 9 November 2002, the Flames were held off the score sheet in a 3-0 loss. At that time, Johnny Gaudreau was nine-years old and he was already a pretty remarkable hockey player.

Prediction: Florida by 1

New York Islanders at San Jose Sharks, 7:30PM

2015-16 Season Records: NYI 7-5-3 (5th in the Metropolitan); SJS 7-7-0 (4th in the Pacific)

Leading Scorers: Kyle Okposo (4G, 7A); Joe Pavelski (8G, 5A)

There’s not a whole lot of history between these two franchises. All-time, the Sharks are 16-12-3-3 against the Islanders giving them a winning percentage of .559. They’ve already squared off once this year, in New York, with San Jose leaving Brooklyn with a 3-6 loss. The last five meetings in San Jose have gone in the Sharks’ favour, 4-0-1 with a +6 goal differential. Will the Islanders be chum in the water tonight? They’ve gone 4-4-2 in their last ten and the team has recently made a roster move that has left many of the Isles faithful perplexed. While Strome has had some struggles this season, among others, this is still a bit of a head scratcher.

Prediction: Sharks by 1

Arizona Coyotes at Los Angeles Kings, 7:30PM

2015-16 Season Records: ARI 7-6-1 (3rd in the Pacific); LAK 9-5-0 (1st in the Pacific)

Leading Scorers: Max Domi (7G, 6A); Jeff Carter (7G, 8A)

The Kings have fared very well at home against the Coyotes. Aside from a defeat earlier this season, Los Angeles is 8-2 at home against Arizona in their last ten games. Over that span, the Kings have outscored the desert dogs 28 to 20, including a 7-4 victory on 24 October 2013, in which Dwight King scored his first NHL hat trick. He’s still recovering from a broken bone in his foot and unfortunately, won’t draw back into the lineup for Movember, which is a shame, as that moustache definitely screams goals.

Dwight King 2

Prediction: Kings by 1

Last Minute of Play:

Entering the final frame of the Royal Rebound, even the most ardent Kings fans had their doubts. The Royal Half reminded me that “the hockey being played was the complete opposite of the hockey the LA Kings have played the last few years.” Even after Dallas knotted up the game to force extra time, TRH just assumed they’d lose in OT. Rich Hammond, who was at the game covering it for the Orange County Register had similar thoughts. When I asked him to recall what his perspective was after forty minutes, he replied “I looked back on my blog for that game, and after the Stars took a 4-0 lead late in the second period, I wrote ‘that should do it.’ Fair to say that 99 times out of 100, when a team has a four-goal lead after two periods, I can feel safe writing my game story.” Odds are it was a rewrite that Hammond undoubtedly welcomed.

Could you imagine what it would’ve been like to be in the building to witness such an historic comeback? Unfortunately, some Kings fans assuming that the game was sealed after the second period, left the game prematurely only to hear about the magic that transpired from their radios and television sets. Evidently, our own Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy has the ultimate fan trump card to play against his father-in-law, who was among some of the disenchanted Kings supporters to make an early exodus. I’m still not sure what is the most incredible part of the Royal Rebound. That the Kings scored five unanswered goals in the third period to take the lead or that three of those (include the tying goal) occurred in a two-minute sequence? While this game certainly isn’t in the same echelon as the Kings’ Stanley Cup clinching games in 2012 and 2014, for Hammond, it ranks in his top five and might be the memorable among regular-season games. Do you remember where you were for this game? Share your thoughts on the Royal Rebound with us in the comments section.

Professor Prediction Record: 8-5

* Next Tuesday the Kings travel to Philadelphia to take on the struggling Flyers, while we explore the 1969 Alcatraz occupation

 

Professor Mike hails from Sudbury, Ontario (4 hours north of Toronto) a place that has more Kings connections than you’d think. The city’s northern boundary reaches as far as the community of Levack, hometown of Kings great Dave Taylor. As a child, Mike once met Taylor in a gravel pit, as you can imagine, he was thoroughly impressed. He has also spent more than a few bleary-eyed nights at the Beef n Bird, a tavern founded by Justin Williams’ great uncle Jerry Toppazzini. Mike’s only wish is that one day people will call him “the Professor” with the same adoration bestowed upon Ben Scrivens. You can follow Mike Commito on Twitter @MikeCommito.
  • Brian

    I was in the building! One of the most memorable Kings games that I have ever been to.