Game 37: Kings Win 3-0, improve to 21-13-3
LOS ANGELES – Returning home, the Los Angeles Kings were able to muster an uncharacteristic low in shots with 14. It didn’t matter though as the silver-and-black proved that it’s quality over quantity as they blanked the Minnesota Wildby a score of 3-0.
While Thursday night marked the first time the Staples Center faithful saw their team live in a couple weeks, fans also got the chance to see the newest King as defenseman Robyn Regehr made his debut with his new club since being acquired from Buffalo earlier this week.
Los Angeles had to deal with more pressing matters, however, as they were simply trying to avenge their loss to the Wild last Saturday in St. Paul – and they wasted little time as Justin Williams continued his recent hot streak scoring just 1:29 into the game (on their first shot, mind you) to put the home team out to an early lead.
The Kings went nearly two minutes before registering their second shot of the night and when they did, it was another goal as Jeff Carter notched his team-leading 21st tally to put the Kings up by a pair. After allowing goals on both shots he faced, netminder Niklas Backstrom was pulled in favour of Darcy Kuemper who proved decent relief although the Kings were not fazed.
Early in the second, it was the newest King getting in on the action as Robyn Regehr forced a crucial turnover in his own zone where he quickly fed the puck to Anze Kopitar who found a streaking Justin Williams who blew it by Kuemper to put Los Angeles up by a field goal and in the process, giving Regehr his first point as a King. The goal was also Williams’ sixth in his last five games.
On the other end, Jonathan Bernier was solid in the Kings net as he stopped all 23 shots he faced to earn his first shutout of the season and the seventh of his career. With the win, Bernier improves to a stellar 9-2-0 record on the year.
Back to Robyn Regehr, he had a great debut for the Kings. In addition to his helper, Regehr finished the night with a +2 rating and logged 18:25 of total ice time. For good measure, he even registered a shot on goal – not bad for a defensive defenseman.
Overall, it was a very good night for the Los Angeles Kings. With all due respect to Alec Martinez who was scratched in favour of Regehr, it was this move that helped Los Angeles’ defensive unit have a very productive night. That’s not to say that the Kings’ back end hasn’t been good but there is always room for improvement and Thursday night’s display proved that.
Despite the most recent injury to Dany Heatley, the Wild still have enough offensive power to win them games. Unfortunately for them, the likes of Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter were all shut down by great defense and even better goaltending. Even Minnesota’s newest acquisition Jason Pominville (also from Buffalo) was nowhere to be seen on this night.
With the win, the Kings leapfrog the Wild into 4th in the Western Conference and hope to start a new winning streak as they play host to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night before hitting the road once again.