Game 54; 30-18-6
SAN JOSE - They entered San Jose on Monday night having lost four-straight games, simply looking for a little traction. Unfortunately, the Los Angeles Kings were up against a red-hot Sharks team who had entered Monday's contest winners of their last six. But if the silver-and-black were intimidated, they certainly didn't show it on this night.
Despite outshooting the opposition in the opening period, the Kings uncharastically finished the opening frame with just eight shots to San Jose's four. I even facetiously commented that less than 10 shots registered in a period was a good sign for Los Angeles. Little did I know.
After a scoreless first, the Kings and Sharks spent much of the second going back-and-forth without registering a goal. That was until late in the frame when Anze Kopitar made a smooth, patient move to deke out San Jose netminder Alex Stalock before cashing in on his 15th of the year. Jeff Carter and Jake Muzzin helped out with the assists.
In the third, Jonathan Quick took over. While he wasn't very busy, the US Olympian was rock solid when he had to be, turning away all 23 San Jose shots he faced with 14 of them coming in the final 20 minutes.
With the win, Jonathan Quick improves to 15-9-2 mark and while that seems like a modest record, Quick's play when the pressure is on has been anything but this season. In the process, Quick picked up his third shutout of the year, becoming, believe it or not, the third Los Angeles netminder to reach that number this season. With that said, the Kings now have a league-leading nine shutouts. For his career, the shutout is Quick's 28th, moving him to within four of the franchise record set by Rogie Vachon with 32.
The win is also Quick's 164th-career victory, moving him to within seven of Vachon's franchise record of 171.
In addition to No. 32's outstanding play, the Kings receive a significant boost when Matt Greene made his return to the lineup after missing time with a concussion. Greene had a productive night, registering five hits, four blocked shots, two shots and a +1 rating. Anze Kopitar led the Kings with four shots followed by Justin Williams with three. The Kings hit a few posts on Monday, even one on an empty net, but still won. Considering their recent luck, these are two points the Kings will gladly take.
Overall, it was the type of performance the Kingdom is accustomed to seeing from their team. Their scoring woes may still be present but the solid goaltending supported by timely defense underlines why the Los Angeles Kings are a force to be reckoned with in the very tough Western Conference. They just need to be more consistent which is certainly something to shoot for as the silver-and-black close out a not-so-impressive January.
There's no time to get comfortable, however, as the Kings travel to the desert for a Tuesday night matchup with the Phoenix Coyotes.