Game 21: Kings Win 6-4, improve to 12-7-2
LOS ANGELES – They were down by a pair after 40 minutes but the Los Angeles Kings were resilient, roaring back in the third scoring four times leading to their second win in as many nights, downing the St. Louis Blues by a score of 6-4.
With just under five minutes to play in the first, it was the Blues who opened the score as defenseman Alex Pietrangelo’s point shot tipped off a Kings defender and through the legs of Jonathan Bernier. The home team, however, answered right back though as Jake Muzzin slapped a shot past Jarsolav Halakjust 43 seconds later.
Unfortunately for the Kings, they found themselves behind shortly after as Vladimir Sobotka tipped in a Barret Jackman shot with just 1:10 remaining in the opening frame to regain the Blues lead. St. Louis would continue their pressure in the second as just 1:14 into the middle frame, David Perron gave the Blues some insurance.
Unfortunately for Bernier, that meant the end of his night as he was pulled after allowing three goals on eight shots. In Bernier’s defense, he did play just the previous night (and admirably at that) so it’s hard to be upset with him for having a shaky start. Nevertheless, Jonathan Quick came on in relief but allowed a goal to Chris Stewart a few minutes later to give the Blues a 4-1 lead. It seemed that the Blues would run away with this game – and for those who turned off the game, they certainly missed a lot.
With just under eight minutes to go in the second, Slava Voynov slapped a point shot past Halak to pull the Kings to within a pair. The score remained that way at the second intermission but in the third, the Kings came to life.
Just 1:33 into the third, Dustin Penner set up Mike Richards who wristed a shot past Halak to pull Los Angeles to within a goal and they weren’t done there. 59 seconds later, Jake Muzzin came streaking down the wing and snapped a bad-angle shot that found its way into the net to tie the game. With that goal, Muzzin celebrated the first multi-goal game of his NHL career.
Determined to take their first lead of the night, Jake Muzzin was at it again, this time finding a wide-open Jeff Carter who wristed his team-leading 15th tally to pull the Kings up for good as Anze Kopitar notched his 7th with just over five minutes to go to give Los Angeles the insurance they needed and that was it. The Kings have now picked up wins in as many nights and have won nine of their 11 games, looking stronger than they have all season long.
For a team as offensively inept as the Kings were to begin the season, they showed no effects of fatigue in their back-to-back appearances. If anyone was worried about the Kings being too tired to compete, they didn’t have to. Los Angeles scored a combined 11 goals in their last two games.
If there is a downside to Tuesday’s outings, it’s that the Kings only faced 14 shots – so neither goaltender looked like they were playing to their full potential. But no one’s too worried about that as Bernier, like I previously mentioned, had played the previous night and Quick, despite making only five saves in relief, was good when he had to be keeping his team in the game, giving them the opportunity to come back the way they did.
Tuesday versus St. Louis was a huge win for the Kings as they now look forward to the Thursday night when they play host to their divisional rivals, the Dallas Stars, in what will be, believe it or not, their first meeting this season.