Darryl Sutter finally won his 500th career game behind an NHL bench and Jonathan Quick tied Rogie Vachon for first place on the Los Angeles Kings’ franchise wins list as the Kings nipped the Washington Capitals 2-1 in a shootout. The win snaps the Kings 3 game losing streak at home and maintains the 5 point cushion between them and the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Kings got on the board in the first period, with Marian Gaborik chasing down a Justin Williams dump-in behind the Washington net. Gaborik won the race and fed a perfect pass to Anze Kopitar who found a hole in Jaroslav Halak to give the Kings the lead with less than 6 minutes left.
Both teams had opportunities but the next goal didn’t come until the 12:24 mark of the third period. Caps rookie Evgeny Kusnetsov carried the puck down low and fed a pass out front to Joel Ward. Ward’s first attempt was blocked by Drew Doughty but the puck went right back to Ward who lifted it past Quick to tie the game.
Both teams had good opportuinites late in overtime, but it solved nothing and a shootout was required. After Kusnetsov scored on the Capitals’ first attempt, Quick stoppped Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Bacstrom while Jeff Carter and Gaborik each beat Halak to give the Kings a much needed win.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- The Kings’ top line of Kopitar, Gaborik and Williams was flying and had numerous chances. It might have been Gaborik’s best game as a King and he seems to be settling in nicely since coming over from Columbus a couple of weeks ago.
- After a couple of games of run and gun hockey that the Kings cannot be successful at, this was back to an LA style. They held the powerful Caps to just 22 shots, smothering them and Quick did the rest.
The Kings will stay home and host the Florida Panthers on Saturday, a game in which the Kings should win, since the Panthers are among the bottom-feeders of the Eastern Conference. It is a 1:00 pm start.