It’s not the most attractive hockey, and maybe it’s ugly at times, but the Kings excel at the grind-it-out style of play that helped them win the Stanley Cup championship in 2011-12. They’ve been locked in so many tight games over the last few seasons that it’s almost become second nature. They never seem nervous or tight with the game on the line.
Their patience and willingness to stick to their game plan paid dividends in a less-than-thrilling 2-1 shootout victory over the Nashville Predators, a game that might have had all but their most devoted of fans reaching for the remote control Thursday.
The Kings’ don’t want to play run-and-gun hockey as a rule and that was especially true at the end of a four-game, eight-night cross-county trip. They traded first-period goals with the Predators, kept the game tight and hoped for a break.
When it didn’t happen, the Kings were content to try to win the game in a shootout, which they did thanks in large part to Jonathan Quick’s superb play in goal. The Kings have a 5-3 recording going into tonight’s game against the Dallas Stars, with four wins coming in overtime or a shootout.
It could be a nerve-rattling method of operation, but not for the Kings, according to center Anze Kopitar. It was Kopitar who scored the winning goal in the shootout Thursday, keeping the Kings perfect in overtime or shootouts this season.
“Over the course of three or four years now, we’ve played in a lot of them, so we feel pretty comfortable going in tied in the third, being down, being up one or two,” Kopitar said. “I guess we’ve just got some experience in that department.”