Key play: Kris Versteeg tapped in a rebound of his own shot off the crossbar for the tiebreaking goal 2:01 into the second period and the Kings regained first place in the Pacific Division with a 2-1 victory Thursday over the Ducks at Staples Center.
Playoff update: The Kings can win their first division championship since 1990-91 with a victory Saturday over the Winnipeg Jets in their regular-season finale. The Ducks would then finish second. The San Jose Sharks’ 5-4 loss to Winnipeg locked them into third.
Pivotal performer: Ducks goaltender John Gibson made several quality saves, but none better than a stop with his left leg on an unmarked Anze Kopitar early in the third period. Kopitar slipped behind the Ducks’ defense, but couldn’t beat Gibson from point-blank range.
Between the pipes: Kings goalie Jonathan Quick made his 67th appearance of the season and set a franchise record with his 40th victory of 2015-16. Gibson started for the sixth consecutive game in place of the injured Frederik Andersen (concussion).
Quote, unquote: “We want to win without having to score four or five goals,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. “We want to win games only letting in one and we were able to do that tonight against a really good team that has kind of owned us this season. … That’s the only reason we beat them, because we played good defense.”
Kings injury update: Defenseman Alec Martinez sat out for the third game because of what the Kings referred to as an undisclosed injury. Martinez also didn’t play in a loss Monday to the Vancouver Canucks and a victory Tuesday over the Calgary Flames.
Ducks injury update: Andersen didn’t play for the fourth game because of a concussion suffered in a victory March 30 over the Calgary Flames. Andersen said he hopes to play in one of the Ducks’ final two regular-season games.
Key play: Tyler Toffoli’s tiebreaking goal early in the second period propelled the Kings to a 6-4 victory Saturday over the Edmonton Oilers at Staples Center. Toffoli raced down the right wing and broke a 2-all tie with his second goal of the game and his team-leading 29th of the season.
Pivotal performer: Kings left wing Milan Lucic assisted on the Kings’ first three goals to tie his career high for assists in a game. It was his fifth three-assist game in the NHL, his first since Oct. 21, 2014 against the San Jose Sharks while with the Boston Bruins.
Quote, unquote: “We need to clean things up defensively and stuff like that,” Lucic said after the Kings ended a three-game losing streak. “I know it was great we got six goals tonight, but giving up four against is kind of unacceptable. We’ve got to clean that up with seven games left.”
Injury update: Kings left wing Kris Versteeg sat out for the fourth consecutive game because of a foot injury suffered when he blocked a shot during a March 19 game against the Boston Bruins, a 2-1 victory. Versteeg skated on his own after his teammates completed their morning skate.
Watch LA News Group colleague Abbey Mastracco’s video rewind of the Kings’ 3-2 victory Thursday over the Canadiens at Staples Center, which set up a Freeway Series showdown Saturday with the Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division.
Kris Versteeg played 10 minutes Thursday in his Kings debut after Sunday’s trade from the Carolina Hurricanes. He was credited with two shots on goal and was whistled for a tripping. He also had a minus-1 defensive rating. Here’s some of what he said about the Kings’ 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens: “It felt good. Those four days, there was a lot of sitting and stewing, thinking. It was nice to get playing again and get some games going. It’s already 60 games into the season, so these guys are a well-oiled machine and I’m just trying to fit in.”
Key play(s): Anze Kopitar and Tanner Pearson scored less than four minutes into the game and the Kings went on to take a 3-2 victory Thursday from the Montreal Canadiens at Staples Center. The victory enabled the Kings to stay in first place in the Pacific Division.
Pivotal performer: Kings forward Dwight King scored a third-period goal on a breakaway after Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban fell and lost control of the puck at center ice. King faked Montreal goalie Ben Scrivens out of position and slipped a shot into the back of the net.
Quote, unquote: “Once I knew how much time I had, that was the first thing that crossed my mind,” King said of faking and then shooting and scoring his seventh of the season. “I figured I’d try it and for once it worked. That’s the first time it’s ever worked.”
Between the pipes: Scrivens returned to Staples Center for the first time since the Canadiens acquired the former Kings backup goalie Dec. 28 from the Edmonton Oilers. Jonathan Quick started for the Kings for the second consecutive game.
Looking ahead: The Kings play host to the Ducks in a Freeway Series battle for first place. The Ducks defeated the Kings 4-2 on Sunday at the Honda Center and are 2-1 against their rivals this season. The Ducks also are 10-1-2 against the Kings in the last 13 regular-season meetings.
The Kings sent a pick and a prospect to the Carolina Hurricanes to get veteran winger Kris Versteeg on Sunday. Versteeg is a well-traveled one, having played for the Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, Philadelphia Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs during a nine-year career. He was a member of the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup championship teams in 2010 and ’15.
“He’s been around,” Kings center Anze Kopitar said of the 29-year-old Versteeg. “He has two (Stanley Cup wins), so obviously he knows what it takes. From playing against him, I know he’s got good kill and he’s got some edge to him too, which certainly fits with this team (the Kings).”
The Kings sent prospect Valentin Zykov and a conditional fifth-round draft pick to Carolina to get Versteeg, who had 11 goals and 33 points in 63 games this season.