Power play looked good. Probably the only saving grace for the game.
Doughty had probably his worst game ever in a Kings uniform tonight, but nobody that wasn't watching will think that since he still ended up with a goal and an assist. Johnson looked good but not great. Certainly better than Doughty but again the scoreboard will say otherwise. Scuderi: meh. Greene: meh. Martinez: a bit overmatched.
Frolov looked kinda rusty but was still good. Handzus looked a little rusty as well. Simmonds looked severely rusty.
Purcell, Brown, and Stoll need to realize that regular season has already started.
Williams looked good, as did Smyth. Kopitar was fantastic. If he plays like that every game, I'll be ecstatic, and so will his linemates.
That's two extra points the Kings will need later in the season.
A game in mid-January, I could get that. The first game in 6 months, the home opener, and there was nothing there. They didn't do anything. They didn't even react to anything. Just very weak on the puck.
Just wasn't our night tonight. Don't get me wrong, the loss was well deserved with all of the sloppy play in general but nothing went our way tonight. Three f'in goal posts...4 or 5 of the goals can be directly blamed on one or two players. How often does that happen?
Goal 1 - Quick
Goal 2 - Greene
Goal 3 - Great tip by Winnick
Goal 4 - Simmonds
Goal 5 - Doughty/Quick: Quick probably should have made the save even though it was a blatant turnover
Goal 6 - Doughty
Quick was bad. Probably should have saved two or three of those goals. He made a very nice save on Aucoin and another one on a two on one but that's it.
Kopitar was good and I was very happy to see a little bit of the old Kopitar when he drew the penalty. He also made a very nice pass on the Doughty goal. Him and Smyth worked well together
Frolov was good too. Protected the puck well down low. Nice goal. Played pretty well on the PK.
Smyth was typical Ryan Smyth. He was good.
Handzus also played a decent game. Nothing flashy but solid overall.
Jack Johnson had his moments but disappeared as the game progressed. Glad to see him try to get something going with that roughing penalty and he had some good checks as well
Everyone else was pretty bad but I thought Williams and especially Purcell were invisible. VERY sloppy game from the Kings, who are supposed to be all about structure and system. Looked lost on a lot of breakouts. Barely any sustained pressure.
The personnel is there and it shows on the PP but if the ES scoring does not improve then you have to blame Murray and the system. Simple as that.
There were two problems on display, both in the transition game. One is fixable, the other not so much.
1) Puck support. How many second passes could be made cleanly in the neutral zone? The forwards were simply not supporting each other, apart from the top line who looked very, very effective.
Wayne Simmonds in particular was guilty all night. Aside from the one brutal pass behind Frolov that lead directly to a goal, he was also out of position in the cycle game. How many times would Frolov have the puck along the boards, his back to the play, and have nobody there to move the puck to?
The Purcell/Brown/Stoll line had the same problems - no cohesive effort.
The good news is that these are coachable issues. Maybe it is opening night jitters, maybe its that the 2nd line was basically playing their first game shifts together as a unit, or maybe it flat out won't work. Only time will tell.
2) And this is the Kings biggest problem - poor puck movement from the defense. Doughty has a great set of hands on him, but dear lord was he awful tonight - worst player on the ice as far as I am concerned. Johnson prefers to skate the puck up ice, but his breakout passes are average. The rest of these guys just cannot move the puck up ice effectively to save their lives.
You can't build up speed if every stinking attack is centered around the defenseman wanting to get rid of the puck as soon as possible, and a group of forwards attacking like a bunch of cowboys with a bad case of the shakes. Most of these turnovers were unforced errors - just bad, or nervous decision making.
You end up second guessing your teammates, trying to do too much alone, and creating holes everywhere. Phoenix had the speed to capitalize on the chances, and that was that.
Rough start. Too early to totally throw the teams chances under the bus however, holes that existed tonight will get bigger as it progresses.
Biggest hole imo ... Quick. He's not ready. Not even close.