Jim Fox: Much ado about not a whole lot in period two
Editor's note: The Kings aren't televising tonight's game against the Senators, but FS West TV analyst Jim Fox has agreed to share his thoughts and insights from rinkside in Ottawa, the city where he played junior hockey. This is his third post. To read his pregame post, click here and for his post from the first period, click here.
OTTAWA -- End of the second period. Still scoreless.
Kings defenseman Jack Johnson looks more aggressive offensively so far in this game, although neither team is getting many chances. Ottawa is a touch more aggressive on the forecheck and it is having an effect, causing two turnovers in this first three minutes of the second period.
Drew Doughty takes a hard slap shot off the side of the foot, but he stays on for the rest of the shift and is still on the Kings' bench. He looks as if he is in pain, but it appears he is handling it without too much difficulty.
The Senators continue to pressure on the forecheck and create some chances. They already have more chances in the first four minutes of the second period than they did in the entire first period.
I can hear the "full-timers," as Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans call the game about 15 feet behind me in the press box. Bob Miller will join the team along with the other TV personnel Wednesday in Washington.
It appears that Kings winger Brad Richardson is missing something from his game: it is actually the "D" from the name on his jersey. For tonight’s game he is a little lighter as his name reads "Richarson."
The second power play for the Kings -- the puck is on the perimeter and finally the Senators get a break by Jarkko Ruutu that draws a diving try to stop him by Doughty. It appears Doughty gets the puck first, but the referee sees it differently. Four-on-four skating until Ottawa gets a power play for 1:15. Once again, the big line of Daniel Alfredsson-Jason Spezza-Dany Heatley is broken up, but the Senators get two quality chances -- but both shots go wide.
Although it doesn’t appear to be a sellout, ScotiaBank Place is about 95% full. For the most part, the game continues to be very quiet and the only times the fans are making any noise are during TV timeouts.
On the road, the Kings will take this style. If you can be patient, many times the home team starts to force things and the road team can be in good counterattack position.
The first skirmish takes place after an offside with 9:19 remaining in the period. Ruutu and Raitis Ivanans go off for their respective teams. Maybe this will create a little energy. Maybe the four-on-four skating will open things up. Let's hope.
Chris Phillips of the Senators takes an interference call well behind the play, knocking Dustin Brown to the ice. It's a four-on-three power play for the kings for 1:12.
Doughty at the top of the diamond tees one up, but Anton Volchenkov blocks it with his chest. For a few years now, Volchenkov has been a leader in the blocked shots area. He shows why -- he is not afraid of anything.
No shots on goal for the kings with the four-on-three advantage.
The Kings are now playing their sloppiest hockey of the game.... Wayne Simmonds turns it over at the offensive blueline.... then Sean O’Donnell coughs it up right in front of the Kings’ net.... Heatley gets the shot and gets it by Jonathan Quick but off the near post. It's the first time in the game where the Kings have looked out of control.
For the first time, the Kings have stayed way out in the suburb of Kanata, which is only about a 10-minute drive from the arena. In the past they would stay in downtown Ottawa, which is about a good 30-minute drive to the arena. It doesn’t seem like a big deal but on game day, most teams have a morning skate and any time you can cut down on game-day travel time, it benefits the players.
The Senators get a late power play as Michal Handzus covers up for some more sloppy play, but he takes a cross-checking call trying to clear Chris Neil from the front of the net.
Spezza has two shots so far on the power play, but the Kings are clearing the path in front and Quick is having no trouble seeing the shots. The Senators will start period number three with 30 seconds remaining on a man advantage.
Much like the first period, not much happening in the second. No doubt the Senators have outplayed the Kings as they have begun to pressure more and more on the forecheck. The Kings did get sloppy with the puck and it led to multiple chances for the home team.
The Senators outshoot the Kings, 13-4, in the middle period, but all season long the Senators have had difficulty scoring goals. Coming into the game the Senators had scored only 116 goals, last in the league. Most of their personnel loses since they went to the Stanley Cups finals in 2007 have been defensemen, but they are struggling offensively.
In today’s game, it's so important for the defense to get the puck up to the forwards in transition and create some offense. If there is an issue that sticks out with the Senators, it is their inability to make a solid first pass to get the attack started.
-- Jim Fox
Jim Fox is in his 19th season as the Kings' TV color analyst on FS West. He spent his entire 10-year NHL career with the Kings, and at the start of this season ranked eighth on the club's scoring list, eighth in assists and ninth in goals. He has also been the Kings' director of community relations. He lives in Redondo Beach with his wife, Susie.
Photo: Drew Doughty, left, holds Ottawa Senators' Dany Heatley against the boards during the second period. Credit: Sean Kilpatrick / Associated Press