After the Los Angeles Kings’ worrisome 0-2-1 start to the 2013 season, the team is back in a respectable position, having won its last two games. They now sit eighth in the Western Conference standings with five points in their last six games, and carry a 2-2-1 overall record.
Jeff Carter has been the primary reason for the early-season turnaround. In the Kings’ bizarre 2-1 overtime loss at Edmonton, only Carter could break through Oiler netminder Devan Dubnyk with a slick forehand-backhand breakaway move that silenced Rexall Place. Then, when Los Angeles registered its first win of the year at Phoenix last Saturday, Carter notched the game-winning goal and had a plus-2 rating.
Carter’s biggest impact came last night in the shootout win over Vancouver at STAPLES Center. The Kings were down 2-0 late in the second period despite dominating the Canucks for the majority of the game. With Vancouver depth defenseman Christopher Tanev in the box for high-sticking, Los Angeles was not necessarily at an advantage – the Kings had been 0-25 on the power play to start the season. Carter ended that drought with a quick wrister that cut the Kings’ deficit in half – his third goal in as many games.
A Slava Voynov seeing-eye point shot with less than a minute to go in regulation pushed the Kings into overtime, and eventually a shootout, after neither team could register a four-on-four goal. Only Carter could break through in this format, beating the maligned Roberto Luongo on a move similar to the one he deked Dubnyk with.
After a successful few months in his first season with Los Angles last year, Carter is picking up where he left off. With three clutch goals on the young season, Carter is providing the elite offensive, goal-scoring threat the Kings desired when they traded for him last February.