The Kings knocked the ice off their sticks, chipped away any lingering snow and went to work torching the Boston Bruins on Thursday night at Staples Center. The Kings’ offensive thaw was swift and certain and maybe a little unexpected, too.
Jeff Carter, Justin Williams (power play) and Alec Martinez scored in the opening 21 minutes, 45 seconds and the Kings appeared headed to that rarest of results: a blowout victory. It wasn’t a rout in the end, but the Kings still managed to take a 4-2 victory from the Bruins.
“We controlled the play, we controlled the faceoff dot, we got the puck moving, we were great in our own zone when we needed to be, ‘Quickie’ was there when we needed him to be, we got those timely goals,” forward Jarret Stoll said, reeling off the Kings’ strengths at game’s end.
“Quickie” is goaltender Jonathan Quick, who helped ensure the Kings’ early three-goal lead held up. He made 20 saves in his third start since returning to the lineup after sitting out for 24 games because of a groin strain suffered Nov. 12.
For once, or so it seemed, the Kings’ game was centered on offense rather than defense. Their four-goal outburst marked the first time since a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Dec. 19 they scored more than three times. They were outscored 20-10 while losing six of their last seven.
Carter’s team-leading 16th goal was his fifth in seven games and ignited the Kings.
“It seems like you just expect it,” Williams said of Carter’s scoring touch. “You just take it for granted that every game he’s going to have four or five shots and he’s going to get some opportunities and, because of the scorer he is, all of them are going to go in.”
Carter’s goal provided a tidy summary on the early minutes for the Kings and for the Bruins.
First, Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk fanned on a clearing pass and Kings center Anze Kopitar beat him to the loose puck. Kopitar then fed a pass to a trailing Carter, who pounced on a rebound after Tuukka Rask stopped his first shot from the right wing.
Carter beat Rask on his second attempt, giving the Kings a 1-0 lead 10:32 into the game.
Williams, playing in his 800th game, and Martinez, the first Kings’ defenseman to score since Dec. 19, extended the Kings’ lead to 3-0. Boston’s Matt Fraser and Justin Florek sandwiched goals around Dustin Brown’s strike that gave the Kings a commanding 4-1 lead.