Kings 1, Buffalo 0 after one; Luc Robitaille's thoughts on Pat Burns
The Kings scored the only goal of a physical and penalty-punctuated first period.
Dustin Brown, who grew up about three hours away in Ithaca, N.Y., and left tickets for members of his wife’s family for Friday's game, beat Ryan Miller cleanly with a hard shot that sailed over the goalie’s right arm at 4:57. The two were teammates on the silver medal-winning U.S. Olympic hockey team at Vancouver in February — and a third teammate, Jack Johnson, picked up an assist on the play. Anze Kopitar, whose homeland of Slovenia didn’t qualify for the Olympics, also had an assist.
The Kings had a five-on-three power play that lasted 45 seconds but couldn’t capitalize. They were 0 for three overall, while the Sabres were 0 for two.
The Sabres held a moment of silence before the game in memory of Pat Burns, the three-time coach of the year honoree who died of cancer Friday.
Luc Robitaille, the Kings’ president of business operations, played three seasons for Burns with Hull of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and they remained friends over the years. Robitaille said he had remained in touch with Burns’ family recently.
"He meant a lot to me," Robitaille said by telephone. "He was my coach in juniors and we stayed close.
"He fought for a long, long time. The doctors weren't giving him this long. Definitely the last little while it was really, really hard. He wanted to enjoy every moment but it was hard for him. They were getting ready.
"This is a big loss for the world of hockey."
We’ll have more later at www.latimes.com/sports
--Helene Elliott, in Buffalo