Game 24; 15-8-1
LOS ANGELES — They ended November with a thrilling overtime victory. Then, they began December the same way as the Los Angeles Kings won on an overtime beauty from Anze Kopitar to defeat the Vancouver Canucks by a 2-1 count.
In fairness, it wasn’t so much Kopitar’s goal that made the Kings’ winning goal so thrilling but Jeff Carter‘s perfect feed for the goal. But more on that later.
Earning points in their last three outings, the Kings were looking to extend said streak as they were hosting a Canucks team which had shut out the silver-and-black at STAPLES Center back on Oct. 13. Unfortunately, the Kings did not get off to the kind of start they were hoping for.
Less than eight minutes into the game, Milan Lucic took the game’s first penalty as he was caught high-sticking. Lately, the Kings haven’t fared so well on the penalty kill and this time would be different as Daniel Sedin one-timed (from brother Henrik) his 12th past Jonathan Quick to put the Canucks up early. The goal was scored on just Vancouver’s third shot of the night.
The Kings did settle down with Jonathan Quick keeping it a one-goal game but the pace wasn’t quite as frantic for the silver-and-black. The Kings did have their chances but nothing that left fans on the edge of their collective seats. The third period, though, was a different story.
After outshooting the Canucks 22-15 through the first 40 minutes, the Kings picked things up in the third by outshooting Vancouver by a whopping 15-1 margin. Even though hadn’t solved netminder Jacob Markstrom, though, the Kings were suddenly as determined as ever to tie it.
Bo Horvat went to the box for holding at 5:23 of the third and while the Kings were unsuccessful on their first three power plays, they were not about to let this chance go to waste.
The Kings were pressing but couldn’t quite find the right lane to score. Then, 91 seconds into the power play, Nick Shore created traffic in front of Markstrom when Drew Doughty rifled a slapshot from the point that blew past the Vancouver netminder and hit twine. The goal was Doughty’s third with Shore and Marian Gaborik picking up the assists. For the latter, he now has a mini two-game point streak but is already looking as if he has turned a corner this season.
This game went into overtime where the Kings had a power play for the first 26 seconds of the frame. In this type of case, the Kings were on a 4-on-3 but when the penalty expired and the teams ultimately went to 3-on-3, the home team won it.
Canucks defenseman Alex Edler was in his own zone trying to play the puck but his pass wound up on the tape of Jeff Carter who patiently made a perfect cross-crease feed to Anze Kopitar who one-timed the sniper past a sprawling Markstrom to send the STAPLES Center faithful home happy.
The goal, which Kopitar’s eight of the year, gave No. 11 a new franchise record with his sixth-career overtime tally. The win gives Los Angeles back-to-back wins, three in their last four and extends their point streak to four games. The win also extends Los Angeles’s lead on the Pacific Division to three points as San Jose lost on this night.
Albeit in a losing effort, a ton of credit is due for Jacob Markstrom who was solid making 38 saves on this night. However, like on Saturday, the Kings just played better as the game went on and in the end, it results in another two points.
Aside from tying goal, Drew Doughty was a force defensively. He played a total of 31:40 seconds but did not look the least bit tired as he recorded three blocked shots. He only had one shot on net but as we know, he made that one count.
Milan Lucic and Trevor Lewis were leading the way physically with four and five hits respectively with both generating quite a few offensive chances themselves as well.
The Kings may not have exploded out of the gate right away but when they found their groove, they were second-to-none and those efforts paid off in a big way. The Kings are now 2-0-0 on their current homestand.
It is now a few days off for the silver-and-black as they next play host to Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.