Shootouts were an issue for the Kings all season long.
Ultimately missing out on the playoffs by three points, a little more success in shootouts during the regular season could have been the difference in the Kings’ fate this past year.
Coming into their game against the Montreal Canadiens on March 5, the Kings were entrenched in a tight playoff race, and two points were a must to maintain pace in the heavily saturated group of clubs vying for a postseason spot.
After taking an early two-goal lead in the first period, the Kings surrendered three consecutive goals to the Canadiens, finding themselves facing a one-goal deficit with just over a minute to play in regulation time.
Then, Drew Doughty took a stick to the face – giving the Kings a power play to work with during the final moments of the third period.
Working the perimeter, Anze Kopitar fed Jake Muzzin atop the point, who then returned a pass to Kopitar along the half-boards. Kopitar then found Marian Gaborik with a pass to the side of Montreal’s net, who then walked out in front of Dustin Tokarski’s crease, beating the Canadiens’ goaltender low to the far side to tie the score at three with 45 seconds left to play.
With neither team able to net the game-winner in overtime, the game headed to a shootout – where the Kings had struggled mightily this past season. They brought a 1-7 mark in shootouts into the contest, but they snapped out of their slump against the Canadiens.
Three of the four Kings players who shot scored; and Anze Kopitar, who netted the game-deciding goal, broke his own personal shootout scoring drought. Kopitar had gone 0-7 in shootout attempts prior to his marker on March 5.
There were a couple of milestones reached in this game as well. Jeff Carter played in his 700th career NHL game, and his 200th in a Kings uniform. Justin Williams played in his 900th career game, and the Kings, as a franchise, were playing in their 3,700th game since joining the league in 1967.