The Universe is 13.81 Billion years old: Whitney and Jagr, pretty close to that. Those two guys might not have seen the Big Bang, but they probably heard the echo. In this back-to-back with travel and a late arrival for the Stars, Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen was the dark matter holding his team together until first Jagr, then Whitney each went super nova and brought the Kings universe to collapse.
The number 40 was this game’s event horizon; Jagr is 41, Whitney is 40, and their goalie lead-shielded 40 shots. Particle bombardment was the Kings emission; they nearly doubled the Stars at 40-21. While space is thought to be a vacuum, Lehtonen acted as one, using super-gravity to absorb everything that passed within his reach and recording his 21st shutout since the dawn of time.
My focused radiation field captured the following evidence of matter orientation:
The Kings came out thinking they needed to jump on the Stars early, and they did. Shots, possession, the 1st period showed even play to begin which progressed to the Kings outplaying the Stars in all zones. The 2nd period was much the same, except for the Stars having even less success in owning the puck.
The 3rd period, when the full advantage over a supposedly fatigued team was expected to favor the Kings, instead produced the deciding plays coming from the most veteran players from Dallas. Those guys didn’t tire: they had the extra gear the Kings did not.
Quick did not falter, not in the least. He made some glove saves, with the extra flourish, of the type that we look for in his game. While he is not known for the “Quick glove” Jon-32 is known for a complete game, and for being able to hold together while all else around him is falling apart. This he did, but to no avail, as the breakthrough goal and eventual game-winner from Jagr bounced in off Doughty’s skate leaving Quick no chance to stop it.
Quick played what I thought was the best game by a King, performing the requirements of his position better than all others; I therefore now decree an Order of Knighthood Realmity, bestowed upon He of the Leather.
Coach Sutter iced the Power Play units in duplicate of those producing the recent succes, with Kopi’s line backed by MuzzVoy, and Richards line backed by Stoll and Doughty. Both units provided good chances, especially during the first 2 Dallas penalties both coming in the 1st period, but Chance overruled chances and the Kings failed to score. The early goal that Jim Fox said would sap the energy of the Stars never came.
Coach Sutter felt that the Kopitar line did not perform well, and I could agree with him on this game: “They didn’t play very well. They got caught on two long shifts, caught on the wrong side of pucks, caught in different situations that we don’t want to be in. They’ve struggled for two or three games that line, probably three in a row now.” As for Sutter’s condemnation of that line’s past three games, well, let’s just say I attribute it more to motivational speaking than any requirement for accuracy.
The defense, as a whole, seemed to play well, to me. We cannot expect the Stars to have had zero chances to score, and the Jagr goal was well-defended by all Kings on the ice. Jagr did create some space for himself by circling the “home plate” or slot area after crossing past Kopitar, but Kopi recovered mostly and Jagr was relegated to a backhand shot from an angle. Quick was in good position, backing up Doughty who had his man entirely neutralized in both stick and body position, Muzzin was all over his guy, and Williams even helped Doughty by two-manning the guy to whom Jagr was trying to pass the puck. The loose puck near the crease simply found a way to cross the line.
The second goal against was an outnumbered attack where the pass got through; Quick is therefore not to blame. The attack became outnumbered by Brown seeking a big hit well after Scuderi had committed to pinching the half-wall, but that goal was the 2nd from the Stars and when a team doesn’t score one, getting beat by two hardly seems relevant.
Speaking of shutouts, and the Kings, our franchise holds the second-longest streak of games without being shutout in NHL history. The Kings went 261 games scoring at least one goal, only 3 games short of equaling Calgary’s all-time record of 264. Ironically, the Kings streak ended in a shutout by…Calgary, on October 25, 1989. I bring this up because I am hoping that our next game is the beginning of the next streak, and one cannot realize a goal if the goal is not known. The goal is goals.
This one we may just have to count as a good game where we outplayed the opponents for most of the game, but were beaten by a hot goaltender and the gods of the bounce.
The Kings and Stars orbits will intersect 3 more times this season. I expect the rule of inertia to carry the Kings through those collisions largely intact, as the bodies with the greatest mass are by nature most dominant when worlds collide.