The Key Three: April 5
Three key aspects of the Kings' 6-5 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks
1. PENALTY, GOAL, MOMENTUM SWING
Give goalie Jonathan Quick credit, after last night’s game, for stepping up and taking blame for the momentum-turning interference penalty he took with 1:30 remaining in the second period. Six minutes earlier, the Kings had taken a huge 3-1 lead and were cruising along nicely. There’s no love lost between Quick and the Sharks, and Quick earned his penalty when he gave an obvious shove to Dominic Moore behind the net. Joe Thornton scored on the ensuing power play and the Sharks went into the second intermission trailing only by one goal, and with all the momentum. San Jose tied the game 1:10 into the third period.
2. NO `HOLLYWOOD’ SCRIPT
Apparently, after some consultation with Tom Renney, the NHL decided that it did need the ``Hollywood’’ Kings in the playoffs, but it didn’t need them to win the Pacific Division title. The Kings were on the short end of a few calls besides the Ryane Clowe fiasco, but the point isn’t to nit-pick the on-ice officials about every call. The point is to ask, in general, what’s going on here? Has the sport suddenly become more difficult to officiate this season? The number of missed calls, and flat-out bad calls, seems to be increasing by the week. The Kings have benefited from it and been hurt by it. Last night brought another series of head-scratching calls.
3. THIRD-PERIOD LETDOWN
What’s going on with the Kings and third-period leads? Twice in the last three games, they have taken a lead into the third period and come away with only one point, via a shootout loss. Think they’d like to have those two extra points right now? The stumble against Minnesota was somewhat understandable, because that travel schedule was brutal, but it happened again last night. The Kings still have an 86-0-8 record, since April 2, 2009, when leading after the second period, but two of those eight overtime/shootout losses have come in the past week. That’s definitely not an area in which the Kings want to become suddenly vulnerable going into the playoffs.