Game 7; 4-3-0
LOS ANGELES — On Thursday morning, Darryl Sutter decided to start Jhonas Enroth in San Jose that night and Jonathan Quick at home on Friday. The decision left some fans astonished and many more jeering at the Kings head coach. But after Friday’s end result, Sutter looks like a man who helped guide his team to two Stanley Cup wins in three years. And now, the Kings, fresh off a 3-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, are winners of four-straight games.
Between Thursday and Friday, the Kings allowed 80 shots. Between Enroth and Quick, they turned away 79 of them with the latter picking up the shutout on Friday. Quick’s 40-save performance against Carolina helped propel the Kings to victory while Tyler Toffoli supported the offensive attack, scoring twice, including the game-winner.
On what was Hockey Fights Cancer Night at STAPLES Center, the Los Angeles Kings wore lavender warm-up jerseys to open the night before getting down to work. They opened the scoring — on the power play — at 11:03 of the first as Toffoli sniped his fifth past netminder Cam Ward to give the home side the early lead. The two newest Kings, Christian Ehrhoff and Milan Lucic, assisted on the goal. For Ehrhoff, it was his second helper in as many nights. But despite being outshot 15-9 in the opening frame, the Kings went into the intermission with the 1-0 lead.
The Hurricanes continue to outshoot the Kings in the second, doing so by a 13-9 margin. However, they were unable to score, but the Kings couldn’t light the lamp either as both clubs entered the third in a 1-0 game.
The silver-and-black were able to get some much-needed insurance as at the 8:04 mark of the third, Anze Kopitar stole a hand-pass from Carolina’s Ron Hainsey — off of a Tanner Pearson takeaway — to pot his second on a down-and-out Ward to give Los Angeles a two-goal cushion.
The score remained that way until late when, with just under three minutes to go in regulation, Milan Lucic brought the puck into the offensive zone before using his long reach to get around the Carolina defenseman to feed a streaking Tyler Toffoli for the goal. Toffoli crashed the net to pot his second of the night — and sixth of the season — putting it underneath a sprawling Cam Ward. Brayden McNabb picked up the second assist.
A well-rested Jonathan Quick was on his game on this night, picking him his 38th-career shutout which ties him with Tom Barrasso for third on the all-time shutouts list among U.S.-born goaltenders. Of course, while Barrasso played in 777 career NHL games, Friday was just Quick’s 412th. Now, No. 32 sits just two behind the co-leaders on said list: John Vanbiesbrouck and the late Frank Brimsek.
In the hits department, Alec Martinez led the way for Los Angeles with five while four different Kings registered three shots: Toffoli, Ehrhoff, Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty.
Friday night, though, marked a very special night for the Los Angeles Kings as they had their #KINGSFCANCER Night as part of the NHL‘s Hockey Fights Cancer campaign. Many, if not all, of the sold-out crowd were standing up for someone in their lives affected by cancer, helping to raise both funds and awareness for the disease — and the Kings made the night a worthwhile one with their shutout win.
Thanks to their win, Los Angeles’s three-game losing streak to start the season seems like a distant memory as the suddenly-hot Kings are now winners of four-straight games. But, they will now have to put that streak on the line when they travel to Edmonton on Sunday to take on the up-and-coming — and impressive thus far — Oilers.