Alexander Frolov’s awful first-period pass, by itself, didn’t cost the Kings the game last night, but it seemed emblematic of the Kings’ game. They were playing a strong all-around first period until Frolov, with the puck near the boards, decided to pass high instead of (the much safer) low. Columbus’ Jason Chimera easily picked off the lazy pass and beat Jonathan Quick at the other end. Today, after review, Terry Murray was even more upset with the goal today than he was last night.
MURRAY: “That’s an unacceptable play. That was a play he made at a critical part of the game, in the last minute of the period, and it took the emotion out of the team. I went into the (locker) room at the 10-minute mark (of the intermission) and it was silent. You could hear a pin drop in there. Guys were down.’’
Murray talked more about that play, and another big mistake, Raitis Ivanans’ cross-checking penalty that led to a Columbus goal.
MURRAY: “(Frolov’s pass) was against their best player (Rick Nash, on the ice), to make that decision. And Zeus (Michal Handzus) is right there. Zeus is standing below the goal line. He’s just waiting for the puck to get cycled, so he can maintain possession of it. Those kinds of plays, I know they happen, but if you want to become a good team, a playoff team, those things cannot happen. That’s your focus that’s required as a player, individually. To step onto the ice, you’ve got to know the time and place and score of the game, and play the game accordingly. You want to get to the end of that period with a 1-0 lead, and then everything is in good shape.
“On the other side of it, the penalty that Raitis takes is the same. You just can’t do that. That’s just a hit. That’s just playing two-on-two hockey in the corner. That’s just a hit. That happens every shift. He’s running down from his strong-side position. Maybe, if you watch the replay and you really want to put it under a microscope, you say, `Well, it’s not really a cross-check,’ but if you’re Raitis, you’re under the microscope every time you step on the ice. Now it’s 2-1 on the power play.’’