Game 28; 19-8-1
PITTSBURGH — It was the second meeting in six days between the two clubs and the Los Angeles Kings were gunning for the season sweep in Pittsburgh against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. It took a little longer than they had hoped but in the end, the Kings got what they wanted as they edged the Pens in a shootout.
Before the official shootout, though, the Kings and Pens were involved in another sort of shootout. Through regulation and overtime, both clubs combined for 82 shots with the Pens firing 42 shots on Jonathan Quick. While Quick was outstanding making 40 saves, Marc-Andre Fleury was just as pivotal in the Pittsburgh net, turning away 38 ultimately helping to force a shootout. Fleury did, however, surrender the game’s first goal.
There wasn’t any more scoring until late in the second when the Pens tied it. But just minutes earlier, controversy ensued as both clubs heated things up after Evgeni Malkin was slashed by Jeff Carter and roughed up by Brayden McNabb. All three were penalized but no one could capitalize on the special teams. However, the Penguins did score.
Earlier in the second, the Pens thought they tied the game as Phil Kessel deflected a Sidney Crosby pass off the post but later, there was no doubt.
With just 1:15 remaining in the middle frame, Pittsburgh’s Matt Cullen maneuvered his way behind the Kings net where he fed Eric Fehr in front who beat Quick to tie the game. But the Kings weren’t feeling down for too long.
With their power play just expiring, the silver-and-black regained their lead 34 seconds into the third when Jake Muzzin slapper a one-time, his third, past Fleury to regain the lead. Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar helped set up the goal.
The score stayed 2-1 until late when, with the Pittsburgh net empty, Evgeni Malkin shoveled his 13th past Jonathan Quick to send the Consol Energy Center into a frenzy. This game was headed for overtime.
It was a wild overtime but after nothing was settled, the clubs faced off in a shootout. In the shootout, David Perron kicked things off with a goal for the home side. But Anze Kopitar answered right back improving to 3-for-3 this season. Crosby, Malkin and Nick Bonino all tried to regain the Pittsburgh lead but to no avail. Dustin Brown and Tanner Pearson were each unsuccessful as well. Then, Marian Gaborik had his chance and he made no mistake, roofing it past Fleury to give the Kings their sixth-straight win.
There weren’t as many goals scored this time but the scoring opportunities were plenty but both goaltenders were spectacular on this night. But it was Quick prevailing as the Kings take both games against the Pens this season, extending their winning streak to six games and their point streak to eight.
There was another storyline for the Kings entering this contest and that was the debut of Michael Mersch. The 23-year-old may not have recorded any points but he was decently effective in his first game, registering two shots and three hits while logging 11:01 of ice time.
The Kings were a physical bunch on this night as Milan Lucic and Andy Andreoff led the way with six hits apiece with Brayden McNabb and Nick Shore finished close behind with five each. Defensively, Muzzin and Doughty led the way as they each recorded four blocked shots.
For Jonathan Quick, he was named the First Star of the Game and deservedly so. He made 40 saves, making the Penguins work to the bone for that regulation point. Expect No. 32 to get a well-deserved rest on Saturday when the Kings visit the Buffalo Sabres.