Game 25; 16-6-3
VANCOUVER – While they had earned points in their last nine games, the Los Angeles Kings entered Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on Monday night with one major concern: a lack of scoring. After scoring just once en route to an overtime loss last Thursday and being shut out en route to another OT loss on Saturday, the Kings knew they had to step up their game up front – and on Monday, they answered ther bell relatively quickly.
While they were just looking for a goal to start things off, the new line of Clifford-Toffoli-Vey made goal-scoring look like an art form in the early going.
At the 13:50 mark of the opening period, Tyler Toffoli fed Linden Vey who found a wide-open Kyle Clifford – in just his second game back from injury – who made no mistake on Roberto Luongo deking him out and backhanding his second of the year into the twine to give the silver-and-black the early lead.
While the Kings exploded for 13 shots in the first, the Canucks weren’t far behind with 11, all turned away by Ben Scrivens.
In the second, it was the home team that took control of the game as the Canucks outshot the Kings 13-2. However, Scrivens again was standing on his head and his defense was right there to bail out their netminder on the seldom occasions he needed it.
But Vancouver was able to solve Scrivens as, at 17:04, defenseman Chris Tanev slapped his first of the year by the Los Angeles netminder to tie the game.
With Vancouver continue to pour on the momentum in the third, Henrik Sedin scored on the power play at 6:59 to put the home team out in front. Having lost a tooth and being sandwiched by a pair of Kings earlier in the game, Henrik came through with his seventh tally in what some thought would stand as the game-winner.
But despite the Canucks outshooting the Kings, the game was far from over.
With just under three minutes to go and Los Angeles pressing for the equalizer, Jeff Carter – in his first game back after suffering a broken feet – fed a wide-open Mike Richards in front of the Vancouver net who made no mistake for his sixth, tying the game and ultimately sending the contest to overtime.
After being outshot 39-21 during regulation, the Kings were sick and tired of being outshot. So sick and tired that they decided to end the game early.
Just 48 seconds into the extra frame, Slava Voynov set up Anze Kopitar in front who wristed his seventh past Luongo to give the Kings the win and points in ten-straight. Robyn Regehr recorded the second assist on the play.
Like I had initially believed, Monday night’s tilt didn’t happen without some drama.
In the second period alone, a total of 15 penalties were called which including Jordan Nolan dropping the gloves with Vancouver’s Ryan Stanton and three 10-minute misconducts courtesy of Tom Sestito and the pairing of Daniel Carcillo and Vancouver’s Zach Kassian who would both fight again in the third.
As previously mentioned, Henrik Sedin lost a tooth, was sandwiched by a pair of Kings and, for some reason, was named the game’s first star even though Ben Scrivens made 37 saves en route to his team’s win. But I digress.
Nevertheless, you can say what you will about the lack of offense on some nights and even being outplayed a few times as well. But with the latter especially, most can counter that with resilience, which is what the Kings should again tonight en route to the win. They were outshot, were down late but tied it and won it early in overtime. Like their goaltending and their defense, resiliency has played a central part in the success of the 2013-14 Los Angeles Kings thus far.
With Kyle Clifford back for a couple of games now and Jeff Carter making his return – and a productive one at that – the Los Angeles Kings are slowly but surely getting healthier.
In addition, there’s nothing like a win over a hated rival to get the juices flowings. The Kings have now taken both meetings with Vancouver this season and while a date with the Canucks is always exciting, the silver-and-black must now focus their attention to Wednesday night when they travel to San Jose for the first time this season to take on the Sharks.