You know, following the Kings was supposed to be a pleasant diversion from an Oilers team happily losing its way to a second consecutive thirtieth place finish. Saturday afternoon against the Canucks? Not so much. The Canucks outclassed the Kings badly in this one (in terms of hockey ability only), and while Drew Doughty was irate about a little shove in the back that led to Daniel Sedin potting the winner, the fact of the matter is that the Kings weren't close to the best team on the ice.
The most encouraging thing to take from this game was probably the penalty killing, which was particularly impressive when the Canucks were set up with possession in the Kings' zone. The Kings did a good job of preventing that from happening in the first place, but even when the Canucks managed to get in set up, the Kings did a great job of blocking lanes and closing down the middle of the ice to prevent chances. There were a couple of times in Vancouver's eleven minutes on the PP when they were moving the puck around splendidly, but the Kings prevented them from getting any good looks. On the other hand, the Kings terrible power play cost them badly, particularly the full minute of five-on-three during which they generated one lonely shot attempt (a slapper from the point that missed the net), and no scoring chances.
I should also mention that two scoring plays in this game weren't counted as scoring chances, both of which involved new King Dustin Penner. The first was Penner's goal, which was a terrific play by the big man. He was the second King into the corner on the forecheck, won the puck and got body position on Aaron Rome. He then drove to the net along the goal-line, drew a penalty, and promptly scored before the Canucks could get possession of the puck. It didn't count as a scoring chance because he actually shot the puck from behind the goal-line, but it was a great play. The second was Alex Burrows' empty-netter, which sealed the game for the Canucks. Penner was the last King who had control of the puck in Vancouver's zone, but he forced a pass, which was picked off and sent the Canucks up-ice to score the clincher.
After the jump, I'll put up the scoring chances from this one, and later today I'll have the GDT up for the Kings and Stars. The game starts at 8:30 p.m. MST.
For those who'd like a definition: a scoring chance is defined as a clear play directed toward the opposing net from a dangerous scoring area - loosely defined as the top of the circle in and inside the faceoff dots, though sometimes slightly more generous than that depending on the amount of immediately-preceding puck movement or screens in front of the net. Blocked shots are generally not included but missed shots are. A player is awarded a scoring chance anytime he is on the ice and someone from either team has a chance to score. He is awarded a "chance for" if someone on his team has a chance to score and a "chance against" if the opposing team has a chance to score. Finally, a big thanks to Vic Ferrari for making the whole damn thing possible with his awesome scripts.
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 20975
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