The Kings rallied for a 3-2 overtime victory Monday night over the Canucks in Vancouver, B.C. Anze Kopitar scored the winner 48 seconds into the five-minute overtime and Ben Scrivens made 37 saves to extend the Kings’ streak of recording at least one point to 10 consecutive games (7-0-3). Mike Richards scored the tying goal late in the third period and Kyle Clifford also scored for the Kings (16-6-3). Here are three more takeaways from Monday’s victory:
1. Scrivens continues to amaze. The Kings haven’t lost in regulation play since he took over for an injured Jonathan Quick late in OT of what became a shootout loss Nov. 12 to the Buffalo Sabres. The loss of Quick could have sent the Kings reeling, but Scrivens has stepped in and there has been zero drop off in the Kings’ play in net. Scrivens could be due for a night off soon, with rookie Martin Jones making his NHL debut. Then again, maybe Darryl Sutter will stick with Scrivens until Quick returns from a groin injury that’s expected to sideline him until Christmas.
2. Kopitar continues to amaze. With forward Jeff Carter sidelined for most of the month but a foot injury, Kopitar has regained his scoring touch. His OT goal against the Canucks was his seventh of the season and his second in OT. He leads the Kings with 23 points, including 16 assists. His long scoring drought to end last season and to begin this one are largely forgotten.
3. The Kings continue to amaze. The Kings haven’t dropped a game in regulation time since falling to the Nashville Predators 4-3 on Nov. 2 at Staples Center. Putting them away has been next to impossible since then, with their only three defeats coming in a shootout loss to Buffalo (when Scrivens had the impossible task of entering the game with 1:20 left in OT after Quick was hurt), then an OT loss to Jaromir Jagr and the New Jersey Devils followed by an OT defeat to the Colorado Avalanche. If you’re scoring at home, the Kings have secured 17 out of a possible 20 points in their last 10 games. That’s just what’s been needed to keep the Kings in the thick of the hyper-competitive Western Conference race.
The Kings (15-6-3) have lost two in a row in overtime, but have gained at least one point in nine consecutive games (6-0-3). Goaltender Ben Scrivens is 4-0-2 in six starts since replacing the Kings’ No. 1 goalie Jonathan Quick, who suffered a groin strain Nov. 12 that might keep him out until Christmas at the earliest. Scrivens also has a 1.15 goals-against average, a .955 save percentage and two shutouts in his last six games. All is not rosy in the Kings’ world, however. They have scored only one goal in the last 125:02, having been beaten 1-0 in OT on Saturday by the Colorado Avalanche and 2-1 in extra time Thursday by the New Jersey Devils. Injured forwards Jeff Carter (foot), Matt Frattin (lower body) and Trevor Lewis (lower body) will not play in tonight’s game against the Canucks (12-9-4) in Vancouver or in Wednesday’s contest against the Sharks in San Jose. Anze Kopitar leads the Kings with 22 points (six goals, 16 assists). Henrik Sedin leads the Canucks with 24 points (six goals, 18 assists).
The Buffalo Sabres are off to a bad start to the season by any measure available. They went into Thursday’s game against the Kings with a league-worst 3-13-1 record. They were winless at home. They scored only 31 goals and gave up 53. Only the Edmonton Oilers had given up more with 62. Still, the challenge is no different than from playing one of the NHL’s elite teams, according to Kings center Anze Kopitar. Take the night off, and the Kings risk getting embarrassed.
Anze Kopitar didn’t know anything was wrong until he saw Jeff Carter wearing a walking boot Friday morning. Carter suffered an unspecified lower-body injury during the Kings’ 4-3 overtime victory over the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday.
The Kings’ victory Wednesday over the San Jose Sharks extended their mastery over their Pacific Division rivals to 11-0-1 in their last 12 games at Staples Center, including the regular season and playoffs. The Kings won all four games against the Sharks at Staples Center in their second-round playoff series last spring, underscoring the value of home-ice advantage during the postseason. The Sharks went 10-1-1 to lead the NHL with 21 points before losing to the Kings 4-3 in overtime Wednesday. The Kings could have fallen seven points behind the Sharks, but by winning in OT, they moved within four. The Pacific Division race is one that bears monitoring all season, if for no other reason than the team with home-ice advantage will have an edge in the playoffs.
What was it Wayne Gretzky said? “One hundred percent of the shots you don’t take, don’t go in.” Something like that, anyway. Anze Kopitar acknowledged getting some advice from Kings fans to shoot the puck. It’s happened now and then during an incredible stretch in which he’s hardly scored. Kopitar went the final 16 regular-season games without a goal last season, and then had only one in the first 13 games this season. Then he got a pass in overtime of Wednesday’s game against the San Jose Sharks and the fans bellowed, “Shoooot.” So he did.
The Edmonton Oilers went into Sunday’s game against the Kings as one of the NHL’s biggest messes. They gave up a league-high 48 goals through 12 games to start the season and were a dismal 3-8-1 after a 5-4 loss Saturday to the Phoenix Coyotes. Their goaltending was subpar, with Jason LaBarbera not exactly sharp as a tack. Richard Bachman was recalled from the minor leagues and he got the start against the Kings, and nearly earned a victory. The Kings took 48 shots at him, but got only one past him during a 2-1 shootout victory. Here are three things to consider about a game that very nearly got away from the Kings:
Some people can’t enough statistics. The Kings’ crack media relations staff came up with a few gems after Thursday’s wild 7-4 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes. For instance, the Kings last scored seven times in a game in an 8-1 rout of the Vancouver Canucks on April 1, 2010. Guessing that was no April’s Fool joke.
There were a few more facts and figures, including:
He might be public enemy No. 1 among the less polished among the Kings fans, who rail profanely at him on his every visit to Staples Center, but Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan knows quite a bit about their favorite team. Here’s what he had to say after the Kings’ 7-4 victory Thursday over the Coyotes: “Getting the quick one on the power play gets them feeling good. You know it was only a matter of time before (Anze) Kopitar and (Mike) Richards got going and once they start feeling good, they’re a pretty good team.”
Kopitar scored a power-play goal in the game’s first minute, his first goal of the season. Richards also scored his first of the seasons. It wasn’t accurate to say the Kings struggled while Kopitar and Richards, the team’s top two centers went without a goal in the season’s first 10 games, It was a head-scratcher, though. Let’s see if the Kings move up the standings in the Pacific Division now that they have broken through with goals.
Tomorrow’s game story tonight …
Anze Kopitar skated into the attacking zone in the opening minute of the Kings’ 7-4 victory Thursday over the Phoenix Coyotes at Staples Center. He and his teammates were on a power play and they buzzed around goaltender Mike Smith’s net in search of an early goal.