Justin Williams’ seventh-round shootout goal capped a big day for the veteran winger and gave the Kings two points at the end of a long night in Calgary.
Williams picked up the primary assist on Rob Scuderi’s goal 39 seconds into the game, and on Dustin Brown’s goal at 6:17 of the first period after a Robyn Regehr goal had tied the game at 1. At 11:02 of the second period Williams scored to restore the lead again, at 3-2, before Alex Tanguay’s second goal of the game brought Calgary back at 3-3 in the third period.
Jonathan Quick made 32 saves through 65 minutes. In the shootout, he allowed a pair of quick goals to Rene Bourque and Alex Tanguay, then was credited with five straight saves (with help from a pair of goal posts).
The net result was the Kings’ fifth win in their last six games, a stretch in which they have gained 11 of a possible 12 points. They have hardly been dominant – two of the wins came via the shootout, and the other three came by 1- or 2-goal margins. The Kings were outshot again in Calgary (35-33) and have only outshot two of six opponents during the streak.
But aside from the obvious benefit of gaining points in the Western Conference standings (and oh, by the way, the Kings leapfrogged the Flames into the top eight tonight), the six-game point streak has served an important purpose. It’s removed the sense of urgency to acquire someone from the outside to pump some life into the offense. Not that the offense is firing on all cylinders, but each win makes the Feb. 28 trade deadline seem like a realistic time frame in which to forge a solution.
A few more notes:
Terry Murray switched up the shootout order, sending out Michal Handzus, Jarret Stoll and Anze Kopitar in that order. Handzus and Stoll both scored; nobody scored again for either team until Williams in the seventh round. Stoll brought his shootout success rate this season to 4-for-5 – second in the NHL only to Thomas Vanek (4-for-4, 100%) among shooters with at least four attempts. Jack Johnson, who was sent out in the fourth round and had his wrist shot stopped by Miikka Kiprusoff, failed to score on his sixth straight attempt. One more shootout milestone: Jonathan Quick improved to 6-0. He’s the only NHL goalie with at least four shootout appearances batting 1.000 in the skills competition.
Dustin Brown: 3 hits, $150 for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Williams had a hot start to the season that included a 11-game point streak spanning October and November. Yet his last three-point game prior to tonight came Oct. 8, 2009 against the Minnesota Wild – a game in which the line of he, Anze Kopitar and Ryan Smyth combined for nine points.
Tanguay’s power-play goal in the third period broke a streak of four straight perfect games for the Kings’ penalty kill.
Scuderi’s goal gives him two this season, a career-high for a single season. The defenseman scored one goal in 2003-04, 2006-07 and 2008-09.