A flabbergasted Kings offense finally caught a couple of breaks Thursday night, coming through with two timely goals in the final minutes of regulation to beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 at Rogers Arena.
For the Kings, it was the club’s first regular season win against the Canucks in regulation time at Rogers Arena since January 19, 2008.
“It was a gutsy performance by everybody tonight,” Anze Kopitar said following the comeback win. “You know, getting down early, again, and coming back step-by-step, it was pretty nice.”
And for Jarret Stoll, who buried the game-winning goal with 1:14 left to play, it brought back some memories from the magical goal he scored in the same building on April 22, 2012 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal.
“We battled, I thought we deserved this game, I thought we deserved to win it,” Stoll said following the game. “It took us right to the end to do it, but right from the start we played pretty well and actually we got better as the game went on. We’re happy with this win.”
The Kings dictated the pace of play from the start of the game, but were once again being haunted by a high shot-total with no goals to show for their efforts. They also found themselves battling an early deficit, something they’ve come accustomed to of late, the Canucks registering their first goal on their fourth shot of the game.
Vancouver’s opening marker came on their only power play of the evening; Alexandre Burrows punched home a rebound amidst a scrum in front of Jonathan Quick’s net.
Radim Vrbata gave the Canucks a 2-0 lead just over three minutes into the second period. Vrbata was left all alone in the Kings’ crease after Chris Higgins’ pass attempt ricochet off the skate of Drew Doughty and straight onto the Vancouver forward’s stick.
The Kings, at this point, had more than doubled the Canucks in shots taken, had hit a pair of posts, and looked miffed as to how they were going to get a puck past Vancouver’s Ryan Miller.
Dwight King final got the Kings on the board with just over five minutes left to play in the third. King, hard on the forecheck in Vancouver’s zone, dug the puck out of the corner to Mike Richards, who was situated on the bottom of the right circle. Richards fired a wrist shot that Miller stopped, but King pounced on the rebound, and on his second effort, chipped the puck high to the top shelf to bury the Kings’ first goal of the evening.
King’s goal was his fifth of the season, and Richards, with the assist on the goal, registered his first point in nine games.
Entering the third period down 2-1, the Kings continued to hound Vancouver’s defensive zone, but it wasn’t until their fourth and final power play of the night with less than four minutes remaining in regulation when they were able to tie the score.
Justin Williams, after receiving a touch pass from Drew Doughty low along the left side of Vancouver’s zone, walked in a fired a perfectly placed wrist shot above Ryan Miller’s right shoulder.
Williams’ goal, his ninth of the season, tied the game with 2:07 to play.
The Kings weren’t content with a conservative approach to extend the game to overtime, though. As they worked the puck in Vancouver’s zone, Jarret Stoll stepped on the ice fresh off of a line change.
Tanner Pearson found Stoll with a cross-ice pass as he joined the play, and Stoll fired a slap shot low through traffic that found its way behind Ryan Miller. Stoll’s goal gave the Kings a 3-2 lead with 1:14 remaining.
“I saw, I think it was, Marty up top and then I saw Stollie come off the bench,” Tanner Pearson send of the game-winning goal sequence. “Luckily [my pass] went through [Sedin’s] legs and got to [Stoll] and he made a good shot on it.”
The Kings won only their second game on the road this season when allowing the first goal of the game; they’re now 2-7-2 on the season when doing so.
The Kings outshot the Canucks 40-16.
Eight different Kings skaters registered a point, Drew Doughty, Justin Williams, Dustin Brown, and Jarret Stoll led all players in shots taken (4), Dustin Brown in hits delivered (4), Alec Martinez in shots blocked (4), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (30:03). Jonathan Quick made 14 saves in the win.
With the win, the Kings’ record jumps to 19-12-8; their mark away from STAPLES Center improves to 5-8-6. The Kings have now moved into second place in the Pacific Division. The Kings finished their three-game road trip with a 1-1-1 record, earning three of a possible six points. The Kings will now play seven straight games on home ice at STAPLES Center, starting Saturday afternoon when the Nashvhille Predators pay a visit to Los Angeles. The puck is slated to drop at 1:00PM PT.