Kings: Scoreless after one period vs. Avs

After the 1st period:

Kings 0, Colorado Avalanche 0

The good: Plenty of excitement almost from the opening drop. The Kings out-shot Colorado, 12-5, and generally controlled the tempo on both ends of the ice. The third and fourth lines have been performing an especially admirable job on the forecheck. During one stretch midway through the period, Andrei Loktionov, Trevor Lewis and Brad Richardson pinned the Avs in their own zone, wearing them down long enough to make a line change and still keep maintain possession in the offensive zone for another 40 seconds. Justin Williams, mired in a month-long slump, had a team-high three shots on goal.

The bad: Twenty seconds into the game, Colorado defenseman Ryan O’Reilly drew blood from Jack Johnson with a high stick to the face, resulting in a four-minute double-minor penalty. The Kings barely settled into their set when Mike Richards was whistled for interference seven seconds later, cutting their power-play time in half. The Kings got the man advantage back when Richards emerged from the penalty box and, shortly afterward, appeared to score a power-platy goal when Williams tipped a wrist shot from Johnson past Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov. However, the goal was immediately disallowed by a referee, who ruled Williams used a high stick to deflect the puck. The play was reviewed but there was not enough visual evidence to overrule the on-ice decision. Richards and fellow top-line forward Dustin Brown have been a bit sloppy with the puck, committing two giveaways each.

The in between: The San Jose Sharks beat Vancouver in a shootout earlier tonight, so the Kings need to earn at least one point to not only stay atop the Pacific Division standings but remain in the top eight in the Western Conference. Kyle Clifford started the game with Richards and Brown, but quickly returned to his fourth-line duties. It will be interesting to hear coach Darryl Sutter’s reason for that move.