Game 28: Kings Win 4-0, improve to 16-10-2
LOS ANGELES – Prior to the game, I questioned Darryl Sutter‘s decision not to go with the hot hand in Jonathan Bernier and instead start Jonathan Quick who struggled against the Coyotes in Phoenixlast week. Boy, was I wrong for questioning that as the 27-year-old made 27 saves for his first shutout of the season en route to his team’s 4-0 whitewash of the Desert Dogs.
There was only one goal in the first frame and it came courtesy of Jake Muzzin who slapped a blistering shot into the top corner for sixth of the year and his ninth point in his last ten games.
In the second, Kings fans got to see their new guy add to the fun as Tyler Toffoli potted his first-career NHL goal to put the Kings up by a pair – but the fun wasn’t done there. In the third, Anze Kopitar snapped his ninth past Mike Smith and just over a minute later, Jeff Carter scored his 18th, which ties him for second in the NHL’s overall lead, to put Los Angeles up 4-0 and chase the Phoenix netminder from the net. Former King Jason Labarbera came on in relief and despite stopping all seven shots he faced, the damage was done as the Kings won big heading into Tuesday night’s rematch will all the momentum.
In addition to his first-career goal, Tyler Toffoli added an assist while Carter and Kopitar also added helpers en route to the win. Justin Williams added two assists while Drew Doughty and Rob Scuderi each registered a helper each. But the biggest story was the play of one Jonathan Quick.
He faced nine shots in each of the three periods and came up huge when he had to be as he frustrated the Coyotes to no end on this night. As great as Jonathan Bernier has been playing, it is important for the Kings to get Quick on the ice and have him work out the kinks in his game. Recording a shutout will certainly help that. My only concern is the question of who Darryl Sutter will start on Tuesday night – but we’ll worry about that when the time comes. Right now, the Kings have picked up a critical two points and are looking very good as they head into Tuesday night’s matchup gunning for their third-straight win.