Kings Must Battle Harder to be Successful
December 2, 2008 by Big Tony
The Los Angeles Kings seemingly have a very bright future of which they have shown flashes of this year. They have a lot of young, promising talent but Monday night they proved why their future is bright and not their present. The Toronto Maple Leafs came to Staples Center and at first the Kings were not very welcoming hosts as Alexander Frolov scored the game’s first goal only 57 seconds into the opening period. After the initial shock the Leafs settled down and the game turned into a virtual stand-still for the rest of the first and all of the second periods. Things looked good for L.A. with strong goaltending from Jason LaBarbera they successfully protected a one goal lead for almost two full periods. And although it would probably take more than one goal to put the Leafs away the Kings had created a number of chances it was only a matter of time before the dam broke….Right? Unfortunately it was not meant to be as the Kings surrendered 2 power play (PP) goals within 1:21 of each other both power play goals. But it was not overwhelming skill from the Leafs that beat L.A. it was the Kings being “out hustled.” No matter the skill level or strategy of two clubs it all goes by the wayside when it comes to chasing loose pucks. Monday night the Kings were a step behind most loose pucks or simply gave up on a play too early. Toronto drew two penalties as a result and that is what led to the Leafs PP goals in the third period and ultimately what cost L.A. the game. Winning the battle to loose pucks will win the Kings games and if they do that sooner rather than later they will become a winning team earlier than expected.