Bernie Nicholls Can't Inspire Los Angeles Kings, Who Fall to Dallas Stars, 2-1
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The Los Angeles Kings should have been inspired.
They should have been licking their chops because they faced Dallas Stars rookie goaltender Richard Bachman, who was making his first career start in net in the National Hockey League.
On a night that should've fired them up to channel their inner Bernie Nicholls, the Kings lost their fourth straight game and fell to the Stars, 2-1 ,at Staples Center Saturday night in Los Angeles.
It was "Legends" night at Staples Center, and they honored one of the Kings' most prolific scorers in team history. Nicholls scored an astounding 70 goals in the 1988-89 season and added 80 assists for a Wayne Gretzky-like 150 points. Only five players in NHL history have scored that many points in a season.
Certainly, the team would score a bevy of goals on this night, right?
Dead last in the NHL in scoring, the Kings did nothing to improve on this depressing statistic, or much to impress Nicholls.
In fact, the only Kings goal scored on this night was by Brad Richardson short-handed in the second period.
Anze Kopitar poke-checked forward Michael Ryder's stick handle at the blue line. The puck deflected off Ryder's stick and drifted deep into the Stars zone. Richardson chased down the puck, raced in on a 2-on-1 with Kopitar and scored on a beautiful stick handle, beating Bachman five-hole. It was Richardson's first goal of the season.
It was the only excitement in the evening, other than the Nicholls tribute video at the beginning of the game.
Unfortunately, Stars defenseman Trevor Daley answered minutes later with the game-winner and his second goal of the season, making the score 2-1.
The Kings were uninspired and undisciplined.
Justin Willams' careless offensive zone penalty for high sticking led to the Stars' first goal in the first period. It was one of several offensive zone penalties in the game for the Kings.
Ryder split defenseman Jack Johnson and forward Dustin Brown at the right faceoff circle and fed a pass to the left side of the net, where Jamie Benn deflected the puck off his skate and past Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier.
The Kings were unable to generate any offense due to taking a ridiculous nine minor and 10 total penalties on the evening. They looked good on the penalty kill and killed 8-of-9 Stars power plays.
It's a lot harder to score when you're skating short-handed a good part of the game. This is the eighth game in a row in which the Kings have scored two goals or less.
Here's hoping the Kings will be a little more jacked up when they honor Daryl Evans on Jan. 2.
I don't care who or what they find inspiration from, as long as they find it from somewhere. The Kings have to figure out how to get the puck in the net or it could be a long, frustrating season for the fans.
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