NEW YORK -- With each team coming off a shutout win, it figured to be a low-scoring affair at Madison Square Garden. In the end, it came down to a single bad bounce, a big call late and some huge saves on each end.
Ben Scrivens made 37 saves for his second consecutive shutout to lead the Los Angeles Kings to a 1-0 win against the New York Rangers on Sunday night. Tyler Toffoli scored the game's lone goal against Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who made 29 saves.
It was Toffoli who got the bounce 1:23 into the second period when his point shot deflected off the left skate of Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman and past Lundqvist for his third game-winning goal in five games. The Rangers had what they thought was the tying goal overturned with 2:41 left in regulation, when a video review concluded that Dominic Moore had kicked the puck with his right skate past Scrivens.
"We're fortunate that went our way and we were able to seal it, but probably a little too close for what we wanted," said Scrivens, who ran his shutout streak to 155:02. "I try not to think about it too much. It sounds really cliché. I've said it numerous times. It's monotonous. Focus on the process, one shot at a time, one game at a time."
Playing for the injured Jonathan Quick, Scrivens improved to 4-1-1 with a 1.24 goals-against average and .955 save percentage. It was his third shutout in five starts this season.
Acquired this past summer in the trade that sent Jonathan Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Scrivens has been known to collect shutouts in bunches. He earned consecutive shutouts on Feb. 16 and 18, 2013 as a member of the Maple Leafs and posted three straight shutouts to capture the 2010 ECAC championship as a senior at Cornell University.
More than anything, he's been a calming influence for the Kings, who are without their franchise goaltender indefinitely.
"We had confidence [in him] right off the get-go. He's with us for a reason. We traded away Bernie, but we knew we were getting something back," center Anze Kopitar said. "He's proven that he's definitely a steady backup for Jonathan. When he gets the nod, he's pretty good. He's played five games and has three shutouts. If he keeps going at that pace I think we're going to be pretty happy."
Toffoli's goal was his fourth in the past five games. Since being called up from the Kings' American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester on Nov. 1, Toffoli has registered a point in six of seven games and collected four goals and eight points. That production has been key in the absence of another Kings leader, Jeff Carter, who has been out since Oct. 30 with a lower-body injury.
"That's why we got him here," Kopitar said of Toffoli. "If he keeps doing that, he's going to stay here for a while. He's not going to leave this locker room."
New York's power play, which came into the game having scored in six of the previous nine games, got some quality chances in the first after Willie Mitchell was called for interference 8:18 into the game. But the Rangers got their best chance to contribute in the second with the Kings up 1-0.
Mitchell was off for interference when the Rangers earned a 5-on-3 advantage after the Kings were whistled for too many men with 8:50 remaining in the second. It was a prime opportunity to tie the game for a team that leads the NHL with three goals while enjoying a two-man advantage. L.A. killed off Mitchell's minor, but Trevor Lewis was then called for delay of game when he shot the puck out of play with 16 seconds remaining in the bench minor.
But the Rangers couldn't convert despite 5:10 of consecutive power-play time that included 50 seconds of 5-on-3 play.
"We got about 50 seconds of 5-on-3 work there and we didn't connect," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "Our execution might have been a bit off. But we had the right ideas and the right things we were trying to do were there. Tonight we just couldn't get it done."
The Kings' penalty kill held New York scoreless on five power-play attempts. But it was that extended kill midway through the second that allowed the Kings to gain some momentum in a closely-contested game.
"We killed them off and that was the change in the game," Kopitar said. "You kill some of their momentum and you gain some momentum yourself. We were pretty solid after that."
Despite having played the night before, New York (10-10-0) carried the play in the opening minutes of the third, but Scrivens and L.A.'s stifling defense kept them at bay. They thought they tied the game in a mad scramble around Scrivens. The play was initially signaled a goal but was quickly overruled by the video review, a call Vigneault did not dispute.
"I looked at the replay and it was kicked in," he said. "It was the right call."
The win gave the Kings (14-6-1) a 3-0-1 record on their road trip through New York and New Jersey. They now fly back to Los Angeles, where they will play three straight at Staples Center, starting with a game Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"Not feeling good about the five-hour flight right now," Kopitar said. "But other than that, it's pretty good."
|Back to top|