For the second straight game, the Kings overcame a first period deficit and drove themselves to a commanding victory; this time over the Colorado Avalanche Wednesday night at the Pepsi Center, winning 4-1.
The Kings’ playoff chances looked rather bleak about a week ago, but they’ve pulled together six consecutive wins and have crawled back to claim the Western Conference’s second and final wild-card spot with Wednesday night’s win.
Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog got the Avalanche on the board just over three minutes into the contest, blasting a one-timer to the short side past Jonathan Quick. That’s all the offense the Avalanche would generate all night, as Quick played outstanding from then on out, making 42 saves.
“I think tonight, Quickie stood on his head for us,” Toffoli noted following the win. “I just think the past couple of games we’ve been working hard and scoring big goals at the right time.”
The Kings responded with a three-goal second period, although they were outshot 18-10 in the middle frame.
The three hottest forwards on the team right now, Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, and Dwight King worked together to get the Kings’ first goal of the evening less than two minutes into the second. King left a puck for Toffoli as he entered Colorado’s zone, then Toffoli fired a wrist shot that Carter deflected past Semyon Varlamov.
Drew Doughty saved a golden scoring opportunity minutes later, scooping a loose puck that was sitting dangerously behind Jonathan Quick out of harm’s way. The Kings quickly transitioned up-ice, where Trevor Lewis fed a streaking Tyler Toffoli a perfect chip pass that Toffoli skated into before beating Varlamov with a slick move to the backhand.
With just under five minutes to play in the second, Drew Doughty set up Dustin Brown for the Kings’ third goal of the evening. As pressure in Colorado’s zone cause players to collapse low, Drew Doughty hopped on a Colorado clearing attempt with ample time and space. Doughty handled the puck with patience and carried it low below the right circle, where he snuck a pass through traffic to Brown who was stationed on the back door.
Jeff Carter secured the win for the Kings, burying an empty net goal with 53 seconds left in regulation.
Colorado outshot the Kings 43-26; the biggest star of the night was Jonathan Quick, who was making his 13th straight start.
Tyler Toffoli, Jeff Carter, and Dwight King have combined for 26 points in the last six games, including five Wednesday night.
“I think we’re just finding a way, we’re getting pucks to the net,” Toffoli said of his line’s recent success. “You see Cartsy’s goal, it’s just about getting it to the net, a nice tip, and we’re just finding ways to score goals.”
With the win Wednesday night, the Kings have taken over the Western Conference’s second and final wild-card playoff spot.
“We’re on a roll now and we’ve got to keep our game going, we can’t let it slip,” Toffoli expressed. “Like I said before, keep scoring big goals at the right time, we trust in our defense, we trust in Quickie, and we’ve just got to keep fighting.”
Drew Doughty (2A), Tyler Toffoli (1G, 1A), and Jeff Carter (2G) led all Kings players in points scored (2), Jeff Carter in shots taken (6), four players in hits delivered (2), Robyn Regehr in shots blocked (5), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (30:07). Jonathan Quick made 42 saves in the win.
With the win, the Kings’ record improves to 27-18-12; their mark away from STAPLES Center jumps to 8-12-6. The Kings have now won six straight games, and will play one more game on the road before returning to Los Angeles. The Kings will play the San Jose Sharks Saturday night in Santa Clara, CA at Levi’s Stadium as part of the NHL’s Stadium Series. The puck is slated to drop just after 7:00PM PT.