Game 20; 13-6-1
NEWARK, NJ – In their second game in as many nights, the Los Angeles Kings were hoping to form another winning streak, collecting as much early momentum as possible in the wake of Jonathan Quick’s injury. Despite playing just the previous night on Long Island, Ben Scrivens was given the nod in goal in New Jersey. Fans were anxious as Scrivens had never before played back-to-back nights in the NHL. He soon assured everyone that they had nothing to worry about.
Friday night marked a rematch of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final as the Kings and New Jersey Devils squared off at the Prudential Center.
Despite having the long-time notoriety of being a defensive-minded club, the Devils came exploding out of the game as they set the tempo of the first period, outshooting Los Angeles by a 12-6 margin.
Despite being outshot, the Kings were up to the task. While the defensive unit came to play, especially Robyn Regehr who led his team with seven hits, Ben Scrivens was top-notch as he turned away all 12 opening-period shots he faced including a few glorious opportunities.
After a scoreless first, the second was more of the same except the Kings limited the Devils to just six shots in the middle frame. Still, Scrivens was solid as was his counterpart Cory Schneider who wasn’t nearly as busy but just as reliable for the home side.
A few minutes past the halfway point of the third, the deadlock was broken.
At the 13:08 mark to be specific, it was a sense of déjà vu as defenseman Jake Muzzin took a point shot that Dwight King got a stick on and fooled Schneider to give Los Angeles the 1-0 lead. The previous evening versus the Islanders, the Kings scored their game-winner also courtesy of a Muzzin point shot (both scored from the left point) being tipped in for a goal. Also, like the previous night, Muzzin’s tipped-in shot also stood as the game-winner. The goal was King’s sixth, marking a new career-high for the 24-year-old. Anze Kopitar also helped out with the second assist.
In the final couple minutes of regulation, Mike Richards took a not-so-common faceoff violation penalty which gave the Devils a golden opportunity to tie.
The Kings, however, were simply too strong on the defensive side and after Damien Brunner hauled down Trevor Lewis with 57 seconds left, the New Jersey man-advantage, and any hopes of winning, were dashed.
With just three seconds remaining in the game, Kopitar scored a power play goal into the empty net to solidify the win for the Kings giving them victories in as many nights.
Ben Scrivens, meanwhile, was named the game’s first star as he stopped all 26 shots he faced to earn his second shutout of the season (and the fourth of his career) to improve to 3-1-1 on the year while improving his goals-against average (for those of you keeping track) to a paltry 1.51.
For his first back-to-back performance in the National Hockey League, Ben Scrivens really could not have performed much better as the Kings enter the weekend on a high note they were hoping to get sooner rather than later.
En route to their victory, it’s also notable to consistent physical prowess of the Kings who outhit the Devils 34-17 on Friday, led by the aforementioned Regehr and Drew Doughty with four.
After starting their current road trip at 2-1-0, the Kings are off on Saturday but head back to work on Sunday where they will cross the Hudson once again to pay a visit to the New York Rangers in the newly-renovated Madison Square Garden.