Game 4; 2-2-0
LOS ANGELES – Trying to put their lacklustre home opener behind them, the Los Angeles Kings played host to the 1-0-1 Ottawa Senators hoping to get back to .500 on the still-very young season.
For those wondering when Dustin Brown was going to find his offensive groove, they didn’t have to wait very long.
At the 6:39 mark of the opening period, Dustin Brown came racing down the right wing when he snapped a shot through Sens netminder Craig Anderson to put the Kings out in front early. But the home team kept coming.
Later in the frame while having the luxury of a 5-on-3 man-advantage, the Kings capitalized again as Jeff Carter wristed his third past Anderson at the 12:31 mark to give Los Angeles a two-goal lead. Mike Richards assisted on the tally – but there was still more as with just over two minutes remaining in the first, the Captain was at it again as Dustin Brown scored his second of the night, on the power play, to put the silver-and-black up by a field goal.
Entering the second period, it appeared as if the Kings were well on their way to victory. To Ottawa’s credit, however, they persevered as at the 6:06 mark of the middle frame, Jean-Gabriel Pageau fired a shot that trickled past Jonathan Quick to put the Senators on the board.
Still down by a pair entering the third, the Kings became reacquainted with an old foe as Bobby Ryan, with his team on the man-advantage, fired his first goal as a Senator over the shoulder of Quick to pull Ottawa to within a goal.
The score stayed that way until just under four and a half minutes remaining in regulation when Milan Michalek took advantage of a screened Quick to tie the game.
After a solid opening frame, the Kings found themselves tied having completely surrendered their once-convincing lead. But the silver-and-black weren’t the least bit deterred.
The game went into overtime where Los Angeles wasted little time as 28 seconds into the extra frame, a Mike Richards point shot was tipped in by Jeff Carter who capped off the win with his second of the night and fourth on the campaign.
Considering their fast start, overtime certainly wasn’t where the Kings wanted to end up but nevertheless, they came out with the end result they wanted, grabbing their first home of the season and, in the process, putting any concerns regarding Monday night’s loss to rest.
Entering Wednesday night, the Senators were only able to muster one win in 13 tries in Los Angeles dating back to when the Kings called the Great Western Forum home.
While the aforementioned Bobby Ryan was able to continue his success in Los Angeles, it wasn’t enough. It was certainly a valiant effort on Ottawa’s part but in most cases when the Kings are led by their captain on the ice, especially when Jeff Carter adds to it, it is very difficult to knock them off their perch.
In a peculiar move, head coach Darryl Sutter put one of the newer Kings, Daniel Carcillo, on the second line despite being a healthy scratch the previous game. While I didn’t understand the move, I did give Sutter the benefit of the doubt as more often than not, there is a method to bench boss’s madness – and there was. Carcillo was the most physical King on Wednesday night as he dished out five hits and helped a great deal in shifting the momentum to the home side early on.
Speaking of physicality, Drew Doughty rolled up his sleeves registering four hits while Matt Greene delivered three.
Unlike in previous years, Los Angeles’s power play is showing significant signs of promise and, even better, results. After Wednesday night’s victory, the Kings are now 6-for-16 on the man-advantage thus far which equates to a rating of 37.5 per cent, good enough for fifth overall.
Last but not least, there is Jonathan Quick.
While he wasn’t the story of the game by any means, the 27-year-old was able to rebound from Monday night’s loss to the Rangers. In all fairness, though, aside from that now-viral goal he allowed, he did play really well in said game. Nevertheless, Quick was great against Ottawa stopping 22 of 25 shots and more importantly, holding his ground and forcing overtime despite the late Ottawa rally.
With their first home-ice win of the year under the belts, the Los Angeles Kings now embark on a four-game eastern road trip where they will kick off in Carolina on Friday night against the upstart Hurricanes.