NEWARK, N.J. -- Ben Scrivens and Cory Schneider were standing approximately 175 feet apart from each other Friday, but it was as if the two goalies were embroiled in a game of 1-on-1 at Prudential Center.
Scrivens, starting his second game in as many nights for the Los Angeles Kings, faced the heavier workload and made 26 saves. Schneider, making his third start this month for the New Jersey Devils, was almost as effective against 20 shots.
The difference was a deflection goal by Kings forward Dwight King 13:08 into the third period. He was all alone in the slot when he deflected Jake Muzzin's shot from the left point. Until then it was a goalie show, but King's goal is all Scrivens needed as he came through with his second shutout of the season, a 2-0 victory, to help the Kings win their second straight game and fourth in their past six.
Scrivens is the Kings' No. 1 goalie for the time being with Jonathan Quick sidelined with a Grade 2 groin strain. The early results suggest he'll be able to handle the heavier workload.
"You should be preparing [to play every night]," Scrivens said. "As a backup, that's the hardest thing to do. It's a tough job, a tough gig. You work hard and you want your efforts to be shown to show you're ready. Unfortunately as a backup a lot of times that doesn't come to fruition, but if you don't do that and a situation like this comes up you've lost an opportunity to potentially give yourself a look somewhere else or give yourself a look here. There are only so many chances you get at this level so you've gotta be ready. You never know when it's going to come."
New Jersey had a chance to tie the game with 2:49 left after Mike Richards was called for a faceoff violation, giving the Devils a power play. But they never tested Scrivens with a shot on goal despite pulling Schneider to make it a 6-on-4. The power play ended seven seconds early when Damien Brunner was called for tripping with 56.7 seconds to go.
Anze Kopitar scored an empty-net goal with 2.9 seconds remaining.
Schneider remains stuck on one win despite a 1.98 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage because the Devils have scored only 10 goals in his nine starts. They have 28 goals in Martin Brodeur's 10 starts.
"I think you're disappointed for Schneider," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "He gave us another really good game again and he we don't give him any run support, so to speak."
Scrivens got just enough backing to write another chapter in his developing L.A. story. He made 23 saves in a 3-2 come-from-behind win against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Thursday and got the start Friday because he hasn't faced a heavy workload yet, coach Darryl Sutter said.
The only other time in Scrivens' brief NHL career he started on back-to-back nights was Feb. 18-19 last season when he was with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He made 37 saves in a 3-0 win against the Florida Panthers on the 18th, but the next night at the Tampa Bay Lightning he gave up four goals on 13 shots and was pulled in the third period.
Scrivens clearly wasn't fazed this time around, and that's a good sign for the Kings, who know they are likely to be without Quick for at least a month, probably longer. Martin Jones was recalled from the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League to serve as Scrivens' backup, but he has never appeared in an NHL game.
"We'll get the other guy in, but you also have to remember that we're in a division where every point counts," Sutter said.
The Kings have 27 points in 20 games, a 110-point pace a quarter of the way through the season, but they're still fourth in the Pacific Division.
"Goalies have to win games," Sutter said.
Scrivens now has to be prepared to start every game, even if it is a back-to-back. That's not new for him. Scrivens spent four years at Cornell University and all or parts of the next three in the minor leagues, mainly in the American Hockey League with the Toronto Marlies, so he's used to playing back-to-back nights with long bus rides mixed in.
Going from Long Island to Newark on a luxury bus and getting a good night's sleep in a hotel bed without having to worry about a morning skate prior to the game is easy compared to what Scrivens used to have to deal with in college and the minors.
"I remember one of my first call-ups in Toronto I played a back-to-back and Dallas Eakins, who was the coach of the Marlies, I think he sent me a text message and he said, 'You've played 3-in-3s down here, this is easier,' " Scrivens said. "We play back-to-backs all the time in college. We play 3-in-3s in the [AHL], some long road trips in the East Coast League.
"That being said, the NHL is the toughest league to win in. You've gotta give it the respect, but also you should be able to, as an athlete, be prepared and give a good effort."
He had to do that from the start Friday.
|Peter Harrold Hi stick - double minor against Tyler Toffoli|
|Dwight King Hooking against Marek Zidlicky|
|Jake Muzzin Interference against Steve Bernier|
|Mike Richards Delay Gm - Face-off Violation against Travis Zajac|
|Damien Brunner Tripping against Trevor Lewis|