Kings’ Offensive Comes Alive, Scores 5 in Win over Caps

Jack Johnson after scoring his second period goal and shortly before "Tebowing" in celebration. (photo courtesy of NHL.com)

There is no doubt that Jonathan Quick is the MVP of the Kings’ season at the halfway mark. His numbers have been terrific and his play has consistently been unparalleled. Thus, it only makes sense that his team would break out of their prolonged offensive slump and erupt for five goals (not to mention one of which was scored on the power play)…all with their starting goaltender riding the pine.

Back-up Jonathan Bernier was given the spot-start and also an atypical amount of support from his teammates up front. The twenty-three-year-old Quebec native had rarely received much help at all in his previous seven starts—amassing a 2.82 goals-against-average albeit a 2-4-1 record. Tonight, he stopped twenty of the twenty-two shots he faced and was dealt plenty of offensive support.

But give credit where credit is certainly due. Tonight’s team played controlled, aggressive, and (quite frankly) impressive hockey en route to the decisive 5-2 victory over the visiting Washington Capitals.

The contest began on a rather disappointing note, as the Capitals’ Marcus Johansson found the back of the net with the very first shot of the game. It was however, the very last tally the visiting squad would record until late in the third period.

Young Kyle Clifford netted his team’s first of the night with a smooth backhanded shot past an initially (and repeatedly) shaky Tomas Vokoun. It marked his second goal of the season and the winger would go on to notch his first career two-point game with an assist on a Jack Johnson goal in the second period.

Anze Kopitar continued the scoring for Los Angeles with a mere twenty-seven seconds remaining in the first period thanks to a turnover from Brooks Laich several feet in front of his own net. The goal undoubtedly boosted squad morale as failed to look back and scored the next three all unanswered. Additional tallies were registered by Johnson, Jarret Stoll, and Justin Williams.

The Kings’ five goals tied for their largest offensive output for the season and the first time since the seventeenth of November in which they have reached the elusive number.

Los Angeles also killed their thirty-second, thirty-third, and thirty-fourth consecutive penalty during tonight’s game. That ties the Montreal Canadiens eleven-game streak of their own earlier this season and marks the eighty-fourth kill of their last eighty-seven (96.6 percent) shorthanded attempts.

A sellout crowd of 18,118 unanimously stood to their feet in the game’s waning moments and loudly cheered their team’s effort. Simply put, it was merited, as they haven’t had too much to cheer about lately.

INJURY UPDATE: If you haven’t heard, Dustin Penner had missed Saturday afternoon’s tilt against Columbus with a back injury. He revealed today that the injury was caused while attempting to eat a plateful of “delicious pancakes” that his wife had prepared. He played through the pain tonight and was credited with an assist on Stoll’s goal as well as three additional shots on net. Perhaps honesty is indeed the best policy. At least when it reaps these sort of benefits for the struggling forward.