In a return home from a three game road win streak, the Los Angeles Kings (44-25-6, 94 pts) beat up early on the Winnipeg Jets (33-33-9, 75 pts). A three goal first period summed up exactly what the Kings needed to do to start this game and this home stand, as they won 4-2. This is their sixth win in a row and are now 14-3-0 since their last game before the Winter Olympics on February 6.
The Kings could not have started the game any better. Only 2:42 in, Trevor Lewis who threw in a shot from the Winnipeg goalie, Ondrej Pavelec’s right side. Lewis, who spent considerable time on the lower lines this season, netted his 6th goal this season. For the foreseeable future, he will most likely stay with the fourth line, which actually is not bad, because if Los Angeles can get those lines scoring, than that will mean all kinds of goodness for the Kings in the playoffs.
LA went up 2-0 on a goal by Anze Kopitar that had to be reviewed. As they do, the video review judge had to make it clear that this was a clean goal. So what happened? Stick and rebound happened.
When Marian Gaborik shot the puck from just before the blue line, his stick hit the defending Jet’s stick, which flew at Pavalec, hitting him in the chest. It was more of a distraction as it caused Pavelec to lose sight of the puck and as it bounced around in back of him, it ricocheted off Kopitar’s leg and into the net. The call in question, was if Kopitar had a “distinct kicking motion” to put the puck in the net. No such motion was called and the goal stood. Kopitar then got in his second goal of the night on a second consecutive assist by Gaborik, putting the Kings up 3-0.
The Jets made a goaltending switch to start the game as Al Montoya replaced Pavalec. Despite being down three goals, Winnipeg’s intensity did not let up.
Early in the second, Matt Halischuk got one by Jonathan Quick to make it 3-1. They not only came out hot with their offense but also limited LA to very few shots to start the middle frame. The Jets were successful at keeping it in their zone, which threw off the Kings.
After a sloppy start, the Kings were eventually able to take back momentum. Tyler Toffoli was in the right place at the right time when he found the puck on a break. He wristed in a lazer off of Montoya’s right side for his 12th of the year. Winnipeg had the energy to keep attacking, but they had several lapses like this, which gave LA a huge advantage.
The game ended with plenty of action as Winnipeg tried to apply pressure, but none of that mattered as Jonathan Quick showed the world another reason why he is the best goaltender alive!
— LA Kings (@LAKings) March 30, 2014
With the Jets pulling their goalie for the extra attacker, they were able to get in several shots against the Kings’ netminder. With Quick reacting to everything the Jets were doing, he found himself flat on his stomach, but eyeing the puck the entire time. Lifting his right leg backward, he stopped the puck and blocked it clear of the goal.
I do believe Mr. Quick is ready for the playoffs.