Game 12; 8-4-0
ST. LOUIS — The Los Angeles Kings are back in the win column but it potentially came at a price.
This was a goaltending battle right from the start. Having played on Monday night, Kings netminder Jonathan Quick was given a rest as Jhonas Enroth got the call on Tuesday, and he did not disappoint.
Hoping to build off of his 39-save performance in his season debut on Oct. 22, Enroth was flawless in goal on this night, stopping all 24 shots he faced to pick up his sixth-career shutout, and his first as a King.
Jake Allen, though, was just as busy and nearly as dominant as Enroth was.
Coming off being named the NHL’s Second Star of the Week, Allen posted a staggering 0.96 goals-against average last week while helping his team earn three-straight wins. But while Allen was sharp once again, his offensive could not solve Enroth or Los Angeles’s defensive corps. Still, it was the Kings who had majority of shots in the opening frame — 12 to 5 — but Allen turned away all of them. Enroth, while not as busy, kept everything he saw out of harm’s way, as well, as the two clubs were scoreless.
While neither was a factor on Monday in Chicago, both the TLC Line and the power play helped opened the scoring for the Kings.
With just 4:08 to go in the second, Jeff Carter scored his fifth stick-side on Allen to put the silver-and-black out in front, finally solving Allen. Carter took the feed from Drew Doughty, who was handling the puck masterfully with linemate Christian Ehrhoff.
Allen, though, was still great in the second as he stopped 16 shots. Unfortunately for him and the Blues, Carter’s tally proved to be the game-winner, but not before the silver-and-black added some insurance.
With 4:33 remaining in regulation, Tanner Pearson finished off a 3-on-1 play — with Brayden McNabb and Tyler Toffoli — by snapping his second over Allen to put Los Angeles up by a pair.
The score remained that way until the final minute when, with just 45 seconds to go, Trevor Lewis potted his second into an empty net — assisted by Pearson and Carter — to ice it for the visiting Kings as they won the game by a 3-0 count, effectively ending the Blues’ three-game winning streak while getting off on the right foot to start a new streak themselves.
With the victory, the Kings earn a split in their back-to-back road games having lost on Monday night in Chicago.
Unfortunately for the Kings, Tuesday’s win comes as a potentially high price as Anze Kopitar suffered an upper-body injury in the opening frame. It was then that Kopitar ran into the elbow (or butt-end of the stick) of St. Louis’s Ryan Reaves. Kopitar went down, lost some teeth along the way, and while he was able to play a few more shifts, did not return to start the second period.
Kopitar’s status — in addition to his diagnosis — remains in question as the Kings and their fans sincerely hope that their leading-scorer for the past eight seasons does not have to miss a significant amount of time. Aside from the injury, it was a hectic first period with seven penalties called — two of which were fighting majors.
While he was the only member of the TLC Line not to record a point on Tuesday, Milan Lucic contributed in a big way physically as he led all players with six hits, edging out St. Louis captain David Backes with five.
Defenseman Jamie McBain was back in the Los Angeles lineup on Tuesday, recording one shot while logging 15:29 of ice time. McBain had missed Monday’s game in Chicago as his wife gave birth to their new son.
Drew Doughty was a force on both sides of the puck. In addition to his assist on the game-winner, No. 8 led the way for the Kings with five blocked shots.
Overall, a solid defensive game for the Kings but a bittersweet victory as the club awaits further news on the status on Kopitar.
The Kings now fly back to Los Angeles where they will prepare for their next matchup: a Thursday night date hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets.