Game 12: Kings Win 2-1, improve to 5-5-2
LOS ANGELES – Not having played on home ice in over two weeks, the Los Angeles Kings returned to Staples Center on a positive note, defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second time this season, this time winning by a 2-1 score.
In what was Jack Johnson‘s return to Boomtown, the defenseman received a surprisingly negative reaction as most fans booed a player most loved at the start of last season. It’s not as if Johnson asked to be traded away from the Kings but to each their own.
As for the game itself, it wasn’t the most scintillating matchup. Then again, few Kings games this season have been. It was more or less a battle of the backups as Sergei Bobrovsky held the Kings scoreless for much of the game while Jonathan Bernier was good when he had to be in his second-straight start. While he only faced 13 shots, Bernier was up to the task making a couple of glove saves as well as a few other critical stops to put the Kings at .500 on the year.
Tonight also marked the first time that the Kings would be missing Alec Martinez who injured himself last game (Monday night’s win in St. Louis). Holding the Columbus to the aforementioned 13 shots spoke wonders for Los Angeles’ depleted defense as the likes of Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin and Keaton Ellerby stepped up to compensate the absence of Matt Greene, Willie Mitchell and now Martinez.
After starting off the season strong, Kyle Clifford has since cooled off in the production department. However, he was able to open the scoring tonight, registering his second goal of the season late in the second period. In the third, it was Mike Richards who gave the Kings some insurance also scoring his second of the campaign. In fact, with Richards’ goal, he recorded his 400th career point so tonight was quite the milestone for the former Flyers captain.
With the Jackets spoiling Jonathan Bernier’s shutout bid late in regulation to pull to within a goal, the pressure was on as Columbus was attacking in the final minute. Thankfully for the Kings, they held on and now travel to Chicago winners of two in a row. With that said, it only gets tougher as the Kings take on the Blackhawks for a Sunday afternoon affair as part of “Hockey Day Across America”. The Hawks have yet to lose in regulation this season so, when you think about it, the Kings have nothing to lose.
But with all that said, the Kings are now riding some momentum and are hoping that continues on Sunday.