The Key Three: Jan. 5
Three key aspects of the Kings' 1-0 overtime victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.
1. THE LOS ANGELES QUICKS
Where would the Kings be without Jonathan Quick? That’s not a rhetorical question. The simple, honest answer is that they would be hanging out at the bottom of the Western Conference with Columbus and Anaheim. Quick, without question, is the first-half MVP for the Kings. Even on nights when he isn’t forced to make a dozen spectacular saves, he gives his teammates confidence simply because they know he’s back there and they know that, chances are, if there’s a save to be made, Quick will make it. It must be enormously difficult for a goalie to retain sanity on a team with a low-scoring offense. Quick is thriving.
2. DOUGHTY MAKES IT HAPPEN
The ragged game called for one player, in one moment, to do something special to win it. So, give credit to Drew Doughty for doing just that. Doughty captured the moment by taking the puck to the net and then by making a deft move to get the puck in front of Phoenix goalie Mike Smith. From there, it was chaos, and the puck appeared to deflect off at least two players before it crossed the goal line, but Doughty did make the play happen. It hasn’t been the smoothest of seasons for Doughty so far, after his prolonged contract dispute and lengthy scoring drought, but clearly he’s still capable of making game-defining plays.
3. A WIN, BUT...
Yes, the Kings got two important points last night. Yes, they’re 5-0-3 under Darryl Sutter and have recorded at least one point in nine consecutive games. But it’s not all sunshine. This is still a team with massive scoring problems and a team that, all things being equal, probably shouldn’t even have given one point to Phoenix (for an overtime loss). The Coyotes entered with just one win in their previous six games and played most of the game short one defenseman after an injury to Adrian Aucoin. The Kings got the two points, which was the primary concern, but there is still plenty of room for improvement with this group.