Game 28; 17-7-4
LOS ANGELES – After losing in the final minute of regulation on Saturday, anyone could have expected the Los Angeles Kings to feel deflated. But on Monday night, they bounced right back by making a statement against a team they had dominated over the last couple of seasons, the St. Louis Blues.
Despite their inability to beat the Kings, the Blues entered Staples Center on Monday with a 18-4-3 record and were hoping to rebound from their Friday night loss in San Jose. Los Angeles, however, had other plans.
At 10:38 of the opening frame, Jarret Stoll started things off by wristing his third past netminder Jaroslav Halak to give Los Angeles the 1-0 lead. Justin Williams and Robyn Regehr assisted on the goal. But the Kings weren’t done there.
Five-and-a-half minutes later, Drew Doughty blistered a shot off the post that found its way out in front (and free) when Tyler Toffoli wasted no time rushing in and potting his fifth to put the home side up by a pair. Mike Richards joined Doughty with the other helper.
The Kings had outshot the Blues 13-9 in the first and they made the most of their chances as they entered the second period with all the momentum.
At the 5:48 mark of the middle frame, Toffoli struck again as he potted his second of the evening to put the silver-and-black up by a field goal. Mike Richards recorded his second assist on the tally while Willie Mitchell chipped in with the other helper.
On the other end, Ben Scrivens was, to the surprise of no one, extraordinary in goal for the Kings. While he stopped seven St. Louis shots to Los Angeles’s six in the middle frame, he was one better in the third stopping nine Blues shots to his team’s four.
The Blues, however, were able to solve Scrivens but not until the late stages of regulation.
Kevin Shattenkirk broke the Professor’s shutout bid at 14:06 of the third and with just 16 seconds remaining in regulation, Shattenkirk assisted on Vladimir Tarasenko’s ninth to pull the road team to within a goal. But that was all that the Blues could muster as the Kings hung on for the two points, returning to their winning ways.
Offensively, Toffoli had a big night while Scrivens was tremendous. But a good dose of credit is also due for defenseman Jake Muzzin among others who had a textbook defensive night helping to keep the Blues off the scoresheet for much of the night while dishing out a team-leading five hits. Muzzin’s efforts were good enough to earn the game’s second star behind the aforementioned Tyler Toffoli.
As for Scrivens, while he did allow two late goals, he was good enough to be named the game’s third star after his 25-save performance propelled the home team to victory.
Overall, the Kings needed a big game to bounce back after Saturday’s loss and that is exactly what they got.
But it’s no rest for the wicked, as they say, as the Kings travel down the road where they will take on the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday for the first meeting of the season between the two SoCal rivals.