Game 9; 6-3-0
WINNIPEG — They won a close one in Edmonton on Sunday to extend their win-streak to five but on Tuesday. the Los Angeles Kings were in tough against a Winnipeg Jets team who they lost two of three to last year. Also, like the Kings, the Jets entered Tuesday’s contest having won five of their first eight games of the year. The silver-and-black, though, continued their recent dominance, leaving the MTS Centre a quiet building, winning 4-1.
The game kicked off with a fast pace. While no penalties were assessed through the first 19 minutes — and no goals at all — both the Kings and Jets had their share of scoring opportunities. Both Jonathan Quick and Ondrej Pavelec, however, were up to the task, stopping eight and nine shots, respectively, in the opening frame. But something gave in the second.
At the 8:45 mark of the middle frame, Jets rookie Nikolaj Ehlers put his fourth past Quick to draw first blood for the home side. The Kings, though, hung in there and, at the 15:50 mark, their hard work paid off as Jake Muzzin fired a point shot past Pavelec for his first of the year to tie the game. Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty both assisted on the goal.
At 11-10, the shots were fairly even once again in the second with the Jets holding the edge. In the third, though, the Kings came out firing, outshooting Winnipeg by a 14-5 margin and, while they couldn’t take the lead for much of the period, they were able to finally score.
With just 4:41 remaining in regulation, the duo of Tyler Toffoli and Milan Lucic reignited their fire.
With Toffoli streaking down the wing, he lured an aggressive Pavelec out of position before feeding a streaking Lucic, who tapped his second home to give Los Angeles a lead they would not relinquish. Jeff Carter helped out with the second assist on the tally.
While Toffoli did see his goal-scoring streak snapped on Sunday, he started a new one on Tuesday as he tapped home his team-leading seventh into an empty net to give the Kings a two-goal lead. But the silver-and-black weren’t done there as they added another empty-netter just 27 seconds later — this time courtesy of Trevor Lewis — to put the Kings up 4-1, and that is how this one finished. Marian Gaborik assisted on Toffoli’s goal while Lewis’s tally — his first of the year — was assisted by Carter and Doughty.
While three different Kings recorded two-point nights, enough cannot be said about the goaltending of Jonathan Quick. After his 24-save performance, the 29-year-old netminder is on a tear, going 5-0-0 in his last five outings, recording a 0.99 goals-against average and a .966 save percentage. Whoever suggested trading Quick after his sluggish start certainly must be eating their words right now.
Los Angeles’s defensive unit, which also received its share of criticism when the season opened, has been turning it on as of late. On this night, Jamie McBain led the way with four blocked shots while Alec Martinez collected three. Jake Muzzin even helped out offensively, registering a team-leading five shots. Meanwhile Dustin Brown, while he still may not have a goal yet this season, continues to show that he has other ways to contribute to his team’s success. On this night, he led all Kings with five hits.
Overall, a solid two-game road swing for the silver-and-black, capping off a win on a well-disciplined evening from both sides. Each team had just one penalty — Christian Ehrhoff for the Kings; Jacob Trouba for the Jets — in a game which showcased more scoring chances than anything else.
Next up is the equally-hot Nashville Predators who will pay a visit to STAPLES Center on Halloween night, but it’s the Kings who will look to end the month of October with all the momentum they can garner.