Doughty Scores OT Winner, Quick Records 6th Shutout in Win
Jarrett Stoll and Jonathan Quick celebrate the win with the only way they know how. (photo courtesy of NHL.com)
For a game that looked so lackluster one minute and then so well-played the next, Drew Doughty’s controversial overtime winner may be the most fitting way for it to end.
Thirty-eight seconds into the extra frame, Doughty drove towards the left side of the net and switched back to the forehand inches in front of Phoenix’s Mike Smith to slide the puck past his leg. He jarred the net loose with his large frame upon falling, but after review, the net never came completely out of its moorings. Jack Johnson was also stationed in front of the goal and had made contact with Smith thanks to a few shoves from Phoenix’s defenseman.
But in the end, any contact from Johnson was ruled incidental and the puck was determined to have crossed the line completely with the goal posts intact. Phoenix coach Dale Tippet was incensed after the game at the non-call, but for the second time in five games (if you recall Chicago bench boss Joel Quenneville was not too pleased with the officiating in the late December contest versus his team) the Kings end up on the winning side of a hotly-contested finish.
Perhaps lost in all of the overtime hoopla was yet another solid performance from net minder Jonathan Quick. His Vezina trophy case was only strengthened tonight with his league-leading sixth shutout of the season. That puts him comfortably above goalies like Brian Elliot, Tim Thomas, and Jimmy Howard—all of whom have four on the year, but fail to play as brilliantly as Quick does on a nightly basis. His goals-against-average was also reduced to a scant 1.95, the lowest in the league of anyone who has started the same amount of games as the Milford, Connecticut native.
Assisting on Doughty’s goal were Jack Johnson and Jarrett Stoll. Both players were responsible for handling the puck in the offensive zone while Doughty raced off the bench and into the play to net the winner.
Tonight marked the third 1-0 decision of the year for the Kings—the second of which they have won. The win also placed the team’s record at 5-0-3 under no-longer-new coach Darryl Sutter.
Of course, it would be an understatement to say the Kings are in dire need of getting their offense to produce more goals. However, the third period was the home team’s best of the night, even after they had outshot Phoenix 12-5 in the previous frame. They produced a number of quality scoring chances, most notably off the sticks of Anze Kopitar and Brad Richardson. Both were unable to place shoot the puck anywhere other than Smith’s midsection, but given another opportunity to do so and one has to think they might be able to find the net.
If nothing else, the Kings have been playing much more disciplined hockey, as they only earned one penalty throughout the entire sixty minutes. The killed the man-advantage with relative ease once again, the twenty-fourth consecutive kill and their seventy-fourth of the last seventy-seven.
Up next for the Pacific division-leading Kings is a home date with lowly Columbus this Saturday afternoon.