I knew the Kings were screwed when the NHL schedule was released during the off season and it revealed that the Kings would open the season with a home-and-home series against the San Jose Sharks. It seemed very unlikely that the Kings would be able to handle the experienced and very skilled Sharks team. Even with backup Brian Boucher tending net in Game 2 the Kings couldn't even come close to taking the upper hand.
Both games featured sub-sub-sub-par playing by the entire Kings lineup, which fully exposed the complete lack of chemistry. The season opener on Saturday had most of the lines rather unchanged throughout the game. However in the home opener on Sunday, the guys were mixed around forming various combinations among the forwards, and even on defense, reminiscent of those horrible Crawford days. Kopitar received a 10-minute misconduct which forced Murray to find players to rotate in his spot during that duration. But since no one line could consistently be counted on to execute any sustained pressure, I suppose it's no surprise that he mixed up the lines hoping to spark some kind of offense.
LaBarbera looked average in the first game and better in the second game less the moment he allowed the lone goal. There were several scary scrums in the second game but he and the guys in front of him always managed to keep the puck out of the net. He even looked solid on shots that went through traffic and rarely let up many rebounds. But, of course, the one shot that beat him looked so easy to stop, low to the near (glove) side, that it seemed inconceivable that the puck was able to sail by him, but yet it did.
The defense encountered so much trouble clearing the zone and, along with the forwards, was so miserable at connecting passes through the neutral zone to begin the attack. The Kings had so much difficulty getting shots on goal because they failed time and time again at crossing the opponents' blueline and gathering the puck on the dump and chase. The passing deteriorated as the game went on to the point where they couldn't even make one clean pass as the clock slowly ticked to zero among boos resonating through Staples Center. Seeing the Kings getting booed in the home opener was brutal. It was even more brutal knowing that the biggest cheer happened when the score of the Dodgers game (7-2 win over Philly) was revealed on the Jumbotron. It doesn't even matter that two goals were disallowed (man in the crease and kicking the puck in the net) in the second period, because the Kings didn't deserve to win. So many things went wrong in these two games and hopefully the Kings will find ways to quickly remediate the issues otherwise it'll be a very long, excruciating season.
x-posted to Purple Crushed Velvet