Game 5; 3-2-0
RALEIGH, NC – For the first time this season, the Los Angeles Kings are over .500 and while it certainly wasn’t the prettiest way to a win, the bottom line is that they won, a 2-1 shootout victory in Carolina over the Hurricanes.
With the victory, all three of Los Angeles’s wins came in post-regulation. Tonight, it was sniper Jeff Carter scoring the lone shootout goal to start his team off on the right foot on their eastern road swing.
Offensively, it was an uneventful evening for both sides as the game was scoreless through the first two periods. With that said, the opening 40 minutes was a chance for two struggling goaltenders to show off their skills.
Both Conn Smythe winners, Jonathan Quick and Cam Ward were outstanding keeping their respective teams competitive. While Ward had the busier night stopping 37 of 38 shots, it was Quick who stole the show frustrating the Carolina onslaught making 28 saves.
While great things are to be said for Los Angeles’s power play so far this season, it was their ability to produce while shorthanded that got them on the board on Friday.
At the 13:26 mark of the third, Dwight King scored his first of the year, a backhand shot past Ward to put the Kings out in front.
The setback of allowing a shorthanded tally didn’t deter the Canes as Jeff Skinner scored on the man-advantage just 40 seconds later to tie the game. It stayed that way until overtime and ultimately the shootout.
In the shootout, neither Skinner, Alexander Semin or Nathan Gerbe could solve Jonathan Quick while the Kings, who had no luck with Anze Kopitar, went with Jeff Carter next who made no mistake giving the road team the lead and ultimately the victory.
While they didn’t score until late, the Kings certainly had their chances. Kopitar and Justin Williams each led the way with four shots while Dustin Brown, Slava Voynov and Robyn Regehr each had three.
Like usual, the Kings were physical as Dwight Nolan and Willie Mitchell each registered four hits along with Drew Doughty who seems to have gained an edge in said department recently.
While a 2-0 record certainly isn’t anything to be blown away by, the Kings’ record in the shootout thus far is already better than their 2-4 mark in the extra session last season where the scored just nine times while surrendering 21 goals.
Overall, it may not have been highlight-worthy but fortunately, the NHL doesn’t distribute extra points for style. A win’s a win and the Los Angeles Kings will take it as they next travel to Sunrise for a Sunday afternoon tilt with the Florida Panthers.