After the first period:
Kings 1, San Jose Sharks 0
The good: The Kings clearly seem focused on keeping San Jose goalie Antti Niemi busy tonight. Trent Hunter took the first shot on goal while on the seat of his pants and the Kings finished with 16 altogether. The Kings got one to count on their seventh shot on goal 8 minutes 37 seconds into the game. Ethan Moreau dumped the puck in the offensive zone and then got it back thanks to a stiff forecheck by Colin Fraser. Moreau didn’t waste any time getting rid of it, shooting from just above the icing line where it caromed off Niemi and past the goal line for his first goal of the season. Moreau, Fraser and fellow fourth-line mate Kevin Westgarth had preceded that shift with another great effort, trapping the puck in the offensive zone with some hard, physical play against the more finesse-minded Sharks. It’s the fourth consecutive game that the Kings have received a goal from outside their top two scoring lines.
The bad: The Kings took 16 shots on goal, which is terrific, but got just one past Niemi. It’s highly unlikely they’ll pitch a shutout against the high-scoring Sharks, so they need to find a way to get a few more past Niemi. Drew Doughty missed the net on two early shots when Niemi was out of position. He also had two giveaways. Kings fans are becoming impatient with their $7 million defenseman, wondering when the team’s highest-paid player will begin to play like it.
The in between: The Kings went on the power play late in the first period when Frazer McLaren of San Jose gave Kings goalie Jonathan Quick a snow shower as he covered the puck but they couldn’t cash in, despite keeping the puck deep most of the penalty. The Kings needed the practice on the man advantage after going without a power play Saturday night in a 2-1 loss to visiting Chicago.