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Kings shutout by Fleury, Penguins for second time this season

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

– The Kings failed to get a puck past Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury, but pocketed a point in the standings in a 1-0 OT loss to the Penguins Saturday night at STAPLES Center.

For the Kings, it was their second time getting shutout by the Penguins this season; they fell to Pittsburgh 3-0 at the Consol Energy Center on October 30. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 67 shots the Kings fired his way in Pittsburgh’s two meetings with Los Angeles this season.

“We played really well,” Darryl Sutter said following the game. “It’s a tough nut to crack over there [with] Fleury. I don’t think there were a lot of chances either way, but there were a lot of good chances. That’s the way it goes.”

The Kings were all over the Penguins early in the contest, outshooting Pittsburgh 12-5 in the first, and doubling their shot count with a 22-11 mark after two periods of play.

Early in the third period, a goal from defenseman Jake Muzzin was immediately waived off due to Dustin Brown being called for incidental goaltender interference. As Muzzin’s shot made it’s way toward Fleury, Brown made contact with Fleury’s glove while in the crease, leading the refs to deem the play a ‘no goal’ situation.

“Their goalie played really well, he made some big saves,” Muzzin said following the OT loss. “We had a lot of chances and a lot of pucks at the net, a lot of bodies at the net but he made some big saves when he needed to. We played well; some games you’re going to play well and lose and some games you’re not going to play so hot and win. That was a little bit of the case tonight; we played solid but just couldn’t get the goals.”

After 60 minutes of play, neither team could register a goal – sending the Kings to their 15th overtime game of the season.

In the opening moments of overtime, the Kings made a string of errant passes in their own zone, leading to extended offensive possession time for the Penguins. After the Kings found themselves dredged deep in their own zone again, Jeff Carter hit Tyler Toffoli with a pass in the heart of the Kings’ slot; Toffoli was immediately hounded on by Patric Hornqvist, who stole the puck and fired a wrist shot past Jonathan Quick.

The Kings, even with the OT loss, gained some positive in acquiring an extremely important point. Mired in a tight-knit race for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, every single point is crucial at this time of year.

Now with 75 points, the Kings sit one point behind the Calgary Flames for the Pacific Division’s final playoff spot, and three points behind the Vancouver Canucks for the division’s second seed. The Kings are three points behind the Minnesota Wild for the Western Conference’s second and final wild-card berth.

Marian Gaborik led all Kings players in shots taken (6), Dustin Brown in hits delivered (6), Matt Greene and Robyn Regehr in shots blocked (4), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (28:14). Jonathan Quick made 17 saves in the loss.

With the loss, the Kings’ record dips to 31-21-13; their mark on home ice at STAPLES Center drops to 21-7-7. The Kings will now travel for a quick two-game home stand before returning to Los Angeles next Saturday. The Kings will play the Colorado Avalanche Tuesday night at the Pepsi Center; the puck is slated to drop just after 6:00PM PT.

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