The Kings faced a 20-year-old rookie goaltender making his NHL debut for a last-place team with nothing to play for except pride Thursday night at Staples Center. Naturally, it ended up as a test of wills that defied pregame expectations.
After dominating the first period, the Kings were pushed around a bit in the second as the Colorado Avalanche narrowed the lead to 2-1. Paul Stastny scored on a wraparound for the Avalanche at 16:19 of the middle period. The Avalanche outshot the Kings 11-6 in the period. In fact, the Kings went 12:54 without a shot on net before Anze Kopitar sent a harmless shot from the right wing at Colorado goalie Sami Aittokallio.
Perhaps the only sign of uncertainty in the Kings’ 4-1 victory Saturday over the Edmonton Oilers happened when team captain Dustin Brown accidentally high-sticked center Anze Kopitar in the teeth during a scramble near the Edmonton goalmouth. Kopitar lay prone on the ice for a few moments before he was helped to the bench.
Kopitar said immediately after the game that Brown hadn’t yet apologized.
“I’m going to go find him and kick his (rear end),” Kopitar joked.
Brown later apologized via Twitter.
Apparently, the team that tweets together, stays together.
It’s been quite a week for the Kings, who snapped a two-game scoreless drought by defeating the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday. Then they visited the White House on Tuesday and beat the St. Louis Blues on Thursday. They wrap up their week with a possible playoff preview against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night. The Kings are 19-12-2 and in fifth place in the Western Conference. The Wild is 20-11-2 and in fourth. The Wild’s seven-game winning streak came to an end with a loss Friday to the Dallas Stars. The Kings continue their five-game trip Sunday against the Stars in Dallas. Then they face the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday before returning home Thursday to play host to the Wild. Kings center Anze Kopitar has 22 points in the last 19 games and a team-leading 31 overall (10 goals, 21 assists). Kopitar has nine points in his last five games against the Wild.
Anyone who was surprised the Blues lost their cool at the end of the Kings’ 4-2 victory Thursday night in St. Louis simply hasn’t been paying attention. Justin Williams scored a game-clinching empty-net goal and then got smoked by the Blues’ David Backes in a play that led to a mild scrum. Backes was penalized for roughing.
The Kings take on the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday afternoon at Staples Center, looking to bounce back from a clunker of a 2-0 loss Thursday to the Dallas Stars that ended their five-game winning streak at home. The Kings dominated play, recording 40 shots on net, but they couldn’t score on Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen. The Kings (17-11-2 for 36 points) maintained their spot in fourth place in the Western Conference standings. But the pack of chasing teams is was as bunched as ever going into Friday’s games around the league. The Canucks (15-9-6, 36 points) were in fifth based on fewer victories than the Kings. This is the Kings’ final home game before a trip to Chicago, St. Louis, Minnesota, Dallas and Phoenix. Anze Kopitar leads the Kings with 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists). Henrik Sedin leads Vancouver with 28 points (eight goals, 20 assists).
The Kings’ top line of Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams was on the ice for both of the Dallas Stars’ third-period goals in their 2-0 victory Thursday night at Staples Center. Kings coach Darryl Sutter wasn’t happy about it and said so after the game.
The Kings have won five consecutive games at home going into Thursday’s game against the Dallas Stars at Staples Center. Their last loss on home ice was to the Stars on March 7, when Jaromir Jagr and Jamie Benn overpowered them late in the game. The 41-year-old Jagr has a team-leading 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) for the Stars, and Benn has 18 points (six goals, 12 assists). The Stars are 13-13-3 and in 11th place in the Western Conference standings. Anze Kopitar leads the Kings (17-10-2, fourth in the West) with 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists). Jeff Carter has a team-leading 18 goals. The Kings have won three in a row to start a five-game homestand.
Veteran center Anze Kopitar shared his thoughts about the play of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, who ended a 28-game scoring drought to start the season during a 3-2 victory Tuesday night over the Phoenix Coyotes at Staples Center.
The Kings and the Phoenix Coyotes met Tuesday for the second consecutive night and the third time in eight days, a quirk of the NHL lockout schedule. The Kings lost the first game last Tuesday in Arizona 5-2 and then blanked the Coyotes 4-0 on Monday at Staples Center.