Game 23; 14-8-1
LOS ANGELES — Entering Saturday night, few Kings had a more disappointment month offensively than Marian Gaborik. But after this contest was said and done, said disappointment had quickly become forgotten.
After a five-game road swing, the Los Angeles Kings were back on home ice for a four-game stand, and it began against the defending Stanley Cup champions. The Kings were looking to beat the Chicago Blackhawks for the first time this season, but things did not get off to a promising start for the home team.
Patrick Kane entered this game riding an 18-game point streak looking to tie the record by an American-born player, and he did just that at the 11:10 mark of the first.
Shorthanded, the Kings had difficulty getting the puck out of their own zone. Anze Kopitar then made a risky pass in front of his own net to Dustin Brown, who mishandled a puck that fell right onto the blade of Duncan Keith, quickly giving it to Kane who sniped it upstairs to give Chicago the 1-0 lead. The goal was Kane’s 14th.
The Kings had eight shots in the first, then 12 more in the second, but it was the Hawks who scored again. At the 12:56 mark of the second, Niklas Hjalmarsson slapped his first of the year into the top corner, leaving Jonathan Quick with no chance, to give the visiting side the two-goal lead, quieting STAPLES Center.
After 40 minutes, the Kings were down, but they were definitely not out.
Immediately following the goal, the Kings were pressing again, determined to tie the game. However, the Hawks regained the momentum. That was until with just under six minutes to go in regulation when the Hawks took a page out of the Kings’ book.
Defenseman Brent Seabrook, known as one of the best defensemen in the game, uncharastically coughed up the puck in his own zone when Anze Kopitar (making up for his first-period turnover) took it and immediately fed to the aforementioned Gaborik who sniped his fourth stick-side past Darling. This game was tied and STAPLES Center was rocking. Then, after a heart-pounding final minute of regulation, this game was heading into overtime.
In the extra session, the 3-on-3 battle, as per usual, did not lack any excitement.
After a furious back-and-forth pace with each side getting a number of chances, Anze Kopitar fed a streaking Marian Gaborik who made no mistake, rifling the winner past Darling (stick-side again) to give the Kings the thrilling come-from-behind win, closing out November in style with a 3-2 victory.
With the goal, Marian Gaborik equaled his goal output for the entire month in the span of just under eight minutes of game time — and both could not have been more clutch as fans of the silver-and-black were immediately reminded of what makes the Slovakian so valuable.
So, the Kings kick off their homestand on a high note, finishing November at 7-5-1 while giving Jonathan Quick a winning record for the month at 5-4-1.
Next up for the Kings: a Tuesday night date against the Vancouver Canucks.