Well, the Anaheim Ducks clearly made their point at the Honda Center when they faced their SoCal rivals on Saturday night.
It’s starting to look like that Stanley Cup run is fast becoming a distant memory, as the Kings matched the most goals given up to the Ducks in their history in their 7-4 loss in front of an above-capacity crowd of 17, 436 that was equally divided between King fans and Duck fans.
Things were so bad in the first of four meetings of what is known as the Freeway Faceoff with L.A. that the Conn Smythe winner of the Stanley Cup playoffs, goalie Jonathan Quick, who was like a stone wall last spring, was pulled after two of the Ducks’ first three shots on goal went in, both of those goals scored by Duck rookie and Long Beach native Emerson Etem; those were his first NHL lamp-lighters.
Jonathan Bernier took his place, but seeing as five more goals were scored, he obviously didn’t perform any better than Quick as the Ducks’ Nick Bonino, a fourth-line center, scored his first career hat trick while his team converted three out of four power-play opportunities.
Indeed, the Kings’ defense was an absolute sieve on Saturday night as they gave up at least two goals in each period.
Serving as the proverbial exclamation point in the affair – or the proverbial insult to injury – Teemu Selanne scored his 666th goal into an empty net near the end of the game.
So after the first two weeks of this shortened 48-game campaign, it’s the Kings’ I-5 rival Ducks who have the good start at 5-1-1 for 11 points, while these defending champions’ record is 2-3-2 for a paltry six points, which is the second worst in the Western Conference.
Perhaps the Kings can right the ship, and I’m sure that their fans remain confident that things will work out in the end, but it needs to be kept in mind that this season, because of the three-month lockout, is a short one.
And they don’t have nearly as much time to put things right, so they have to start winning.