Gritty Kings Grab 3-2 Shootout Win

Justin Williams (14) gives scores his gives his team a 2-1 lead. The Kings are 73-0-5 since April 2009 when leading after two periods. (photo courtesy of NHL.com)

After all, the Kings were due for a win. The team has been alternating winning and losing efforts since the twenty-eighth of December (that’s eleven games and nearly three weeks). It’s a stretch that surely frustrates head coach Darryl Sutter, but nonetheless has the boys in white earning a pivotal two points earlier tonight.

A goaltender duel of sorts featuring Jonathan Quick and Roberto Luongo took the game to an extra overtime period and shootout. Quick stopped two of the three shooters he faced while Justin Williams and Mike Richards deposited their attempts into the net to give the Kings a 3-2 victory Tuesday night in Vancouver.

Los Angeles took the lead 9:06 into the first period with a deflection off the stick of Dustin Penner, his third of the year and first since “PancakeGate.” Drew Doughty and Rob Scuderi were given the assists and the Kings found themselves in seemingly unfamiliar territory—an early lead on the road.

Vancouver tied things back up at the start of the second period with a power-play tally. The Kings have given up power play goals in three straight games after their penalty kill streak was halted at forty-one last week. However, something they are doing to combat that is scoring on the power play when handed the opportunity.

Justin Williams notched his ninth of the year 15:14 into the second period on the power play. It was the sixth goal in the last five games on a Kings man-advantage, which is enough to bump the power play unit to twenty-first in the league, yet still isn’t enough to lift the team’s offense as a whole out of the league’s basement. The Kings average 2.15 goals per game, .05 behind Minnesota for twenty-ninth place and for what it’s worth, 1.39 goals behind league-leading Boston.

Early in the third period, Vancouver tied the game once again with one of the finest set-ups one might ever see. Jannik Hanson carried the puck to the far end of the boards, spun completely around, and fired a pass through multiple Kings defensemen right onto the stick of teammate David Booth, who ripped it past Quick. It would have taken not only the reflexes of a cat, but the reflexes of a certain carnivorous creature who could throw his body across the crease in the blink of an eye to stop the goal from going in. Needless to say, Quick was unable to stop it.

A scoreless and (mostly) chanceless overtime period gave way to the shootout and the Kings eventual earning of the evening’s two points.

Tonight marked the ninth time in the last fifteen games in which Los Angeles has needed overtime to determine a winner. No other team in the league uses the extra frame as much as this team, yet the keep salvaging points even with unfortunate losses. The Kings sit at 9-1-5 since Sutter took over the coaching reins a month earlier. That’s twenty-three out of a possible thirty points during his tenure, which is enough to maintain positive momentum going forward and rise in the conference standings.

Next up for the Kings is a four-game homestand, which starts Thursday with a visit from the Calgary Flames.