Game 21; 14-6-1
NEW YORK, NY – At 2-0-1, the Los Angeles Kings were determined to end their eastern road trip on a high note – and with a solid defensive performance in the Big Apple on Sunday, that is just what they did.
Having played the previous night in Montreal, the New York Rangers returned home hoping to keep their momentum going while the Kings looked to keep their own winning ways going as they attempted to win their third-straight game for just the second time this season.
If the Rangers were tired from their performance the previous evening, it didn’t show as they exploded out of the gate, ultimately outshooting the Kings 11-6.
While Henrik Lundqvist was great in the Rangers net, Ben Scrivens was even better on the Los Angeles side.
Determined to avenge their home-opener loss to the Rangers back on October 7, the Kings opened the second period on a high note as Tyler Toffoli, just 1:23 into the frame, took a point shot that went off a New York defender and into the net for his fourth of the campaign. Mike Richards and Slava Voynov helped out with the assists.
While the Rangers accumulated another 11 shots in that period, the Kings came alive offensively by recording 13 shots in the frame. Unfortunately aside from the Toffoli goal, they couldn’t generate anything in terms of end results. Nevertheless, Los Angeles entered the third with the lead.
After making 22 saves through the first 40 minutes, Ben Scrivens soon discovered that he had to step up his game in the final frame – and step up he did.
While the Kings generated 11 shots in the third, the Rangers responded with 15. Scrivens, though, was up to the task stopping each and every one of the 37 total shots he faced, especially impressive considering he had little offensive support.
In terms of defensive support, that was quite another story as the Los Angeles defenders were quick to take the puck, avoiding any rebounds for the opposition. This was a common occurrence all evening as the Blueshirts were left frustrated not able to capitalize on a stingy defense despite playing in a game that went back-and-forth so many times.
After a late Rangers goal was called back due to a distinct kicking motion, the Kings clichéd the 1-0 victory, finishing their road trip with a very positive 3-0-1 mark and winning their third-straight contest with Scrivens picking up his second-consecutive shutout (and league-leading third of the year).
While an abundance of credit is due for Henrik Lundqvist who stopped 29 of 30 shots in the loss, more credit is due for Ben Scrivens who, while his defense did play a major role in the victory, was outstanding, stopping, as previously mentioned, all 37 shots he faced in the victory which includes a solid all-around penalty-kill.
The penalty-kill for Los Angeles was just as outstanding, preventing the Rangers from scoring on all five of their opportunities, including two five-on-threes (one of which came from a delay of game infraction that was a Ranger player’s doing). In the end, it didn’t matter as the Kings were victorious.
With the defense and Scrivens playing as good as they can right now, the Los Angeles Kings return home as they prepare to host the Steven Stamkos-less Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.