Coast to Coast

2 games, 2 points. 40+ shots each against the 2 best teams in the NHL. Intensity, hitting and some beautiful goals. Even Coach Murray is starting to believe:

“We played so well. I don’t think we’re capable of playing any better as a team right now.
We come out and we do everything the right way at the start of the game.”

Sure, it would have been nice to get 4 points out of the last 2 games… but it would also be great to have a goaltender that the entire crowd didn’t flinch each time the puck was sent his way. It used to be “imagine if the team in front of LaBarbera just played better, how good they would be.”… Now, it’s “imagine if this team wasn’t playing so well in front of LaBarbera, how bad he would be.” The Kings defense are single handily keeping the Los Angeles Kings in these games against vastly superior teams. And if the Kings have any chance of making it to the playoffs (tied for the 8th spot right now) it’s going to be the defense leading them there and not the goaltending. A friend came to visit me in my seats tonight, and since he wasn’t rooting for either team… he said he’d hope it would go into a shootout. At least 3 strangers turned to him and said “please don’t let it go to a shootout. There is no way we win if it goes to a shootout.” This is the difference between LaBarbera and Erik Ersberg.

Kings 2, Rangers 3 (OT)

The New York fans were out in full effect tonight… but not as obnoxious as I thought they would be. It’s bad enough to go to a sporting event in LA with NY sports fans in attendance… it’s even worse when it’s a hockey game. Because NY fans know their hockey.

Now that’s an awesome jersey!

I loved seeing Oscar Moller on that first line with Anze Kopitar and Patrick O’Sullivan. Obviously Teddy Purcell did not impress Coach Murray tonight… since he didn’t get a shift in the 3rd period. And if you didn’t already know how great 19 Year Old Drew Doughty was… early in the 2nd period, he led a rush up the ice. He looked to the open wingers… who happened to be John Zeiler and Raitis Ivanans. He held onto the puck a few seconds more and found a way to get the puck to Moller instead. That is a great player.

If there is a gut check marker for the Kings in this 2008-2009 season, I’d have to say this stretch is it. Games at home against San Jose and the Rangers… followed by back to back games against Buffalo and Detroit. Nothing like a little east coast road trip during Christmas to bond a team together.

I’m headed out of town for the weekend to enjoy all the snow that is being dumped on the greater Los Angeles area… so you’ll have to turn elsewhere this weekend for your Kings news. I will be frantically checking my iPhone Friday and Saturday night.

The Royal Half has been a Los Angeles Kings fan since 1988 and a Half-Season Ticket Holder since 2002. He has seen the following goaltenders play in person for the Los Angeles Kings… Kelly Hrudey, Grant Fuhr, Byron Dafoe, Jamie Storr, Stephane Fiset, Felix Potvin, Cristobal Huet, Roman Cechmanek, Mathieu Garon, Adam Hauser, Jason LaBarbera, Barry Brust, Sean Burke, Dan Cloutier, Yutaka Fukufuji, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Erik Ersberg, Jonathan Bernier, Jonathan Quick, Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones. You can follow The Royal Half on Twitter @TheRoyalHalf.