Game 14; 9-5-0
LOS ANGELES – When Marc-Eduoard Vlasic scored just 13 seconds into the game, it looked as though the tone would soon be set for the league-best San Jose Sharks to avenge their playoff loss over the offensively-futile Los Angeles Kings. Whoever thought such a thing and turned off the game, missed one heck of a show.
While the Sharks did jump out to the early lead, it didn’t last very long. Just over two minutes later, Drew Doughty snapped his fourth past Antti Niemi to put Los Angeles on the board and send Staples Center into an early frenzy. Justin Williams got the assist. The Sharks, however, were undeterred.
At the 11:27 mark of the first, Joe Pavelski wristed his fifth past Jonathan Quick to regain the San Jose lead.
In the second, the Kings were able to tie it again as Jarret Stoll tipped in a Slava Voynov shot for his second goal in as many nights at the 3:15 mark. While Voynov did set up Stoll for the goal, the play was kept alive by captain Dustin Brown who made a great individual effort to keep the puck in the offensive zone before feeding the Russian D-man at the point, resulting in the goal.
The game stayed 2-2 until the final two minutes of the frame when, with just 1:56 to go, Logan Couture notched his seventh – on the power play, no less – to put the Sharks up once again.
Having gone 0-for-4 on the power play, the Kings were desperate to get something going on the man-advantage – and they did.
At the 12:21 mark of the third, it was Justin Williams who weaved his way through some traffic in front of the San Jose net before roofing his fifth over Niemi to once again tie the contest, ultimately sending it to overtime. But for those who thought the Los Angeles power play reached their peak, they were in for a surprise.
In the extra frame, the Kings once again found themselves on the man-advantage courtesy of a Justin Braun hook on Jeff Carter 53 seconds into the period. On the ensuing power play, patience and puck-control were the key as the Kings slowly but surely moved the biscuit around in hopes of setting themselves up for the game-winner over their hated rivals – and that is just what they did.
With both Doughty and Anze Kopitar at the point, the latter took a shot that was blocked but was persistent, regaining control, feeding Doughty who passed back to No. 11 who rocketed a one-timer right past Niemi to win the game for the Kings and, in the process, give them a plethora of momentum knocking off the league’s hottest team.
With the early goal against, it was an inauspicious start for a Kings team who had scored just twice in their last two outings despite peppering the opposition for a combined 90 shots. But the past was the past as the Kings, like they had a few times already this season, were resilient tying the game not once, not twice but three times before taking their only lead of the game at the most opportune time.
As previously mentioned, the Los Angeles power play, while unspectacular early on, came together and got the results they needed when they needed them the most.
While neither exactly had games for the ages, both netminders proved reliable, especially Jonathan Quick whose 17 saves were enough to lead his Kings to victory. In his defense, Couture’s power play goal was a great offensive play by the Sharks and not a fault of Quick’s.
Overall, it was a fantastic night in Los Angeles. A slow start with a superb finish in a game the Kings needed to win to quiet the naysayers who would otherwise prod at the silver-and-black’s inability to score.
With their big win to wrap up October, it’s a couple of days off before the Kings kick off November hosting Seth Jones on the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.