The LA Kings opened the season with no crowds and simulated fans for 2020-21 season
January 14, 2021
The Los Angeles Kings opened up their 56-game, COVID-19-shortened, 2020-21 season with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild at STAPLES Center.
With no fans in attendance, recorded crowd-sounds were pumped into the arena to simulate the reactions of the fans, especially during eventful moments. i.e. a great save, a goal, etc.
A very surreal atmosphere.
Since the NHL disallowed preseason games this year, this first game of the regular season might be considered the Kings "preseason" game, a chance for the players to establish chemistry and synergy on-ice.
Veteran goaltender, Jonathon Quick, started in goal while the Kings await the return of Cal Petersen who was unavailable due to the standards of the league's COVID-19 protocols. He most likely will be back with the team in a couple of days.
Veteran forward Dustin Brown became the sixth player in Kings history to score 300 goals with the franchise when he scored a power-play goal in the second period. Also in the prestigious "300 Club" are Bernie Nicholls, Marcel Dionne, Dave Taylor, Luc Robitaille, and Anze Kopitar.
Another bright spot during the loss was the performance of another veteran forward Jeff Carter who got a goal and an assist with seven shots-on-goal.
"Carts has been good all training camp, finally healthy," Head Coach Todd McLellan said. "I think the extended pandemic layoff certainly helped him with his (offseason) surgery last year and recovery over the summer. He is still a very committed athlete, he worked very hard on his body and his conditioning. He's always had the skill, the talent and the knowledge to put his game forward, but right now his body's doing a lot for him."
Now that Game 1 is in the books, McLellan thinks his team needs to work on these particular areas to get better the remainder of the season:
The Kings need more in-the-paint, battle-type goals; on defense, they need to clean things up so that they're not letting in four goals; scoring three goals-per-game on a consistent basis; less penalties; and winning faceoffs, among other things.
With 55 more games to go, more will be revealed as time marches on and the Kings continue to gel and do their best to stay healthy and avoid the COVID-19 virus.