Game 38; 24-11-2
LOS ANGELES — When they last hosted them 13 months ago, the Los Angeles Kings had played a boring, uninspired game en route to a 2-1 defeat. A lot, though, has changed since then as in recent weeks, the Kings have found their stride — their swagger, if you will — as they outlasted the Philadelphia Flyers on this day, winning by a 2-1 count while extending their win-streak to five games in the process.
While both Los Angeles goals did come in the opening period, this game was no less exciting for the remaining 40 minutes. But first, the scoring.
Early on, the silver-and-black forced the Flyers to commit a crucial turnover in their own zone as the Kings broke out on a 3-on-1. Dwight King and Marian Gaborik played give-and-go as King finished it off beautifully, sniping his second past Michal Neuvirth — at the 7:33 mark — to open the scoring.
Later, with just under three minutes remaining in the first and on the power play, the Kings extended their lead. Anze Kopitar fought off a Flyer to keep it in the attacking zone before feeding Jake Muzzin who slipped it over to Drew Doughty who rifled a one-timer top-corner. Neuvirth had no chance on the play as he watched Doughty’s seventh blow past his glove hand.
With the assist, Jake Muzzin reached a milestone as he recorded the 100th point of his NHL career.
Despite the lack of scoring since then, both teams played an exciting brand of hockey. The Kings and Flyers each traded ample scoring opportunities and a plethora of hits. Speaking of the latter, the Kings, in a rare occurrence, were outhit on this day as Philadelphia’s 32 bested Los Angeles’s 28. That, however, was the sole low point — assuming it should be called that — for the Kings in this contest.
Two ex-Kings teamed up to put the Flyers on the board as Brayden Schenn shoveled home a Wayne Simmonds pass to make it 2-1. That, however, despite a late onslaught, was all the offense the Flyers could muster as they lose their third-straight game while the Kings are in the other direction, winning their fifth-in-a-row.
As per usual, Alec Martinez led the Kings with three blocked shots but it was Drew Doughty who has most impressive defensively breaking up two key 2-on-1 opportunities in the third to keep the silver-and-black ahead. Jonathan Quick even helped his own case by making a number of critical saves late, including a glove save that left Claude Giroux lost for words.
As for the game’s first goal-scorer, Dwight King is playing as if he has been in the lineup all season long. Saturday was just his third game back from injury and he already has two goals. King is also finding great chemistry with Trevor Lewis, Dustin Brown and, as we saw today, Marian Gaborik.
Overall, Quick made 29 saves to earn his 22nd win of the season while the Kings reach the 25-win plateau in just 38 games, which is the second-fastest in team history. They needed just 37 games to reach the feat in 2013-14, and we all know how that season ended.
Next up for the Kings is a trip to the Mile High City as they put their five-game winning streak on the line against Matt Duchene and the Colorado Avalanche. It happens on Monday night.