Game 41; 26-12-3
LOS ANGELES — It was certainly a chippy, defensive affair, but in the end, it was the St. Louis Blues who prevailed, defeating the Los Angeles in the shootout, 2-1. The win snaps the Blues’ five-game losing skid and gives them their first extra-time victory in four-straight attempts. For the Kings, they fall to 2-2 in the shootout this season.
There was no scoring to speak of until the second period when Anze Kopitar put the home team on the board.
Just shy of the game’s halfway point, Kopitar took a behind-the-net pass from Milan Lucic before deking Brian Elliott out, making him go down before backhanding his 11th over the netminder and in. But just over two-and-a-half minutes later, the Blues tie it as Alex Pietrangelo ended a solid offensive attack by sniping his third past Jonathan Quick. Vladamir Tarasenko and Jiri Lehtera helped out with the assists.
In the third, controversy reared its ugly head as Brayden McNabb was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct on a play that should have never warranted even a minor infraction.
At the 7:59 mark of the frame, Magnus Paajarvi fell forward courtesy of a Milan Lucic check, but as he was falling forward, McNabb’s momentum was too much to make him stop as his backside collided with Paajarvi’s head, dazing the St. Louis forward. McNabb was handed the harsh punishment to the dismay of nearly everyone at STAPLES Center.
To their tremendous credit, though, the Kings were solid on the penalty kill as they killed off the entire five-minute infraction, keeping the game deadlocked.
This game went into overtime and after nothing was settled there, this one went to a shootout.
In the shootout, Alex Steen and Marian Gaborik traded goals but both netminders were up to the task as this one went to the seventh round where the defensive-minded Troy Brouwer won it for the Blues, beating Quick stick-side to snap his team’s losing streak.
For the Kings, despite the loss, their regulation point earns them 55 on the season. That point officially clinches the club’s best first-half record in 41 years. The 1980-81 and 2013-14 versions had 54 points up to this point but the 1974-75 club had 58 points (23 wins, 12 ties). A win on Saturday would have given the Kings the first-half wins record but they are tied with the 1980-81 club in said category with 26.
Brian Elliott was strong in goal as he stopped 26 shots en route to the victory while Trevor Lewis was a difference-maker for the silver-and-black as he led the way with seven hits. Anze Kopitar and new King Luke Schenn led the way in blocked shots with three apiece.
The Kings surely would have liked the win but it was a hard-fought effort as they should be credited for getting this one past regulation.
The Kings are now off until Monday when they get set to play host to the Detroit Red Wings.