Game 38: Kings Win 4-1, improve to 22-13-3
LOS ANGELES – Given their team’s usual performances in afternoon games this season, fans of the Los Angeles Kings were a bit reluctant to see how their team would fare today. They had no reason to worry as the Kings win the rubber match of their season series with the Edmonton Oilers by a score of 4-1 moving back into fourth-place in the Western Conference.
Los Angeles wasted very little time getting going today as it was the two former Flyers who got the action started. Just 1:38 into the game, Mike Richards was set up with the perfect one-timer from Jeff Carter who made no mistake for his ninth of the year. The boys were at it again as Jeff Carter, with his team on the man-advantage, tipped in his team-leading 22nd on the campaign to put Los Angeles up by a pair with Richards (although he didn’t pick up a point on the play) helping out en route to the goal.
The opening period was a continuation of the Kings’ recent theme of quality over quantity as despite only managing seven shots, they made the most of their opportunities and entered the first intermission with the two-goal lead.
Just 2:18 into the second, however, the Oilers got on the board as Magnus Paajarvi tipped in his eighth of the season (on the power play) to cut the lead in half. Despite the goal, though, the Kings were not the least bit fazed as at the 8:22 mark of the middle frame, the home team took advantage of another power play as Slava Voynov teed up a point shot past Oilers netminder Devan Dubyk for his fifth to regain the two-goal lead.
While there wasn’t much offensive action in the third, there were plenty of scoring chances from both sides but both goaltenders were up to the task.
Drew Doughty potted his second of the year into an empty net to seal the victory for the home side as the Los Angeles Kings head into a pivotal divisional matchup in Anaheim tomorrow with momentum on their side.
While his goal-scoring streak came to an end this afternoon, Justin Williams had another strong game nonetheless, most notably making a great individual effort to set up Voynov for Los Angeles’ third goal in what can safely be pointed out as the turning point in today’s contest.
recording a shutout in Los Angeles’ last game on Thursday, Jonathan Quick needed a big game this afternoon and while he didn’t get the shutout, Number 32 shone en route to the victory stopping 23 of 24 shots including a number of key saves frustrating the Oilers onslaught.
In a normal season, the playoffs would start right about now so perhaps the Los Angeles Kings have already entered that postseason mindset which could explain their strong effort this afternoon despite their subpar record during matinees. Whatever the case may be, a win’s a win and the Kings and their fans will gladly take it.