The Kings pulled out a 2-1 shootout win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night, the first stop on a four-game trip. Dwight King scored a shorthanded goal late in the third period and Jeff Carter had the only goal in the shootout. The Kings won in overtime or a shootout for the third time in five games to start the season. Here are more impressions of another grinding victory for a team that excels in those types of games:
1. King continues to be an intriguing player for coach Darryl Sutter, a big boy with some skills. He showed it all while the Kings were shorthanded late in regulation time. He pounced on a misplay by the Hurricanes, skated purposefully toward Cam Ward’s net and then slipped a neat little shot between the goalie’s legs to give the Kings a 1-0 lead. King had a standout training camp and Sutter put him on the Kings’ top line in the opening game of the season. Then, when King didn’t produce, he got demoted. At the moment, he fills a role on the Kings’ lower lines. He can kill penalties and he can throw a check. When he plays with energy, he can help grind out a goal or two against overmatched opponents.
2. Goaltender Jonathan Quick drew a good deal of attention for the blooper-reel goal he gave up in the Kings’ loss to the New York Rangers on Monday. Hey, it happens. Stuff happens. Quick rebounded with a solid showing in the Kings’ overtime victory Wednesday against the Ottawa Senators and again Friday in a shootout win over the Hurricanes. In fact, he was superb in the shootout, turning away all three Carolina shooters. He also stopped 27 shots during regulation and overtime. He’s a key to whatever the Kings ultimately accomplish this season, just as he has been the last few seasons. There’s no sense dwelling on one misplay when he makes so many other great saves.
3. Are five games too few to start worrying about center Anze Kopitar, who has four assists but zero goals? Normally, it wouldn’t be a big deal to see Kopitar start without a goal over five games, but combined with a lengthy streak without one to end the last regular season plus another drought in the playoffs, and you start to wonder what’s going on. Sure, he does plenty of great things to help the Kings win games. But there’s a concern when a top-line center isn’t putting anything into the back of the net.