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Resiliency key in Kings' 4-3 win over Columbus

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

The Kings finished their road trip on positive terms Monday night with a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.

After starting their trip away from Los Angeles with three consecutive losses, the Kings have now won two straight games for the first time since December 18-20. It was resiliency that saw the Kings bounce back from a disappointing start to their road trip, and it was resiliency that drove them to a win Monday night in Columbus.

Jack Skille got the Blue Jackets on the board less than two minutes into the game, but Dwight King responded with his eighth goal of the season 32 seconds later to get things churning for the Kings.

“We responded pretty quickly,” King said following the win. “I think we played the game we wanted to most of the game. The response is key, we need to keep that in our mind, and we need to have efforts like that.”

Tyler Toffoli buried his second goal in as many games to give the Kings a 2-1 lead midway through the first period. Dwight King, who registered the Kings’ opening marker, set up Toffoli with a gorgeous back-door pass.

Columbus tied the game when Scott Hartnell buried the Blue Jackets’ second goal late in the second period, but once again, the Kings were quick to respond. Just 1:18 after Hartnell’s equalizer, Jeff Carter tipped home his 15th goal of the season to give the Kings a 3-2 lead – which they would carry into the third period.

Since the trade that brought him from Columbus to Los Angeles, Jeff Carter has nine points (4G, 5A) in eight games against his former club. He has scored in three of his four games back at Nationwide Arena since.

Dustin Brown gave the Kings a two-goal lead less than two minutes into the third period, driving the net and slamming home a rebound high to the top-left corner.

The Kings dominated possession for much of the third period following Brown’s goal, but the Blue Jackets pushed hard in the final minutes. Columbus’ David Savard got the Blue Jackets within one, when he wristed home a shot from the point.

Columbus buzzed around the Kings’ zone throughout the final two minutes of play, winning numerous offensive zone faceoffs, shutting down all Kings breakout opportunities. Jonathan Quick proved to be huge in the final sequences, and the Kings survived until the final horn to secure a 4-3 victory.

“Obviously that fourth goal was huge for us because they got a third one,” noted Trevor Lewis after the game. “I think we kind of weathered their storm there at the end, Muzz made a great block at the end, we got the puck out, and it was a big win for us.”

Dwight King (1G, 1A) and Jeff Carter (1G, 1A) led all Kings players in points scored (2), Kyle Clifford in shots taken (6), Dustin Brown in hits delivered (6), four players in shots blocked (2), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (30:02). Jonathan Quick made 23 saves in the win.

With the win, the Kings’ record improves to 23-18-12; their mark away from STAPLES Center jumps to 7-12-6. The Kings finished their five-game road trip with a 2-3-0 record, and they now return to Los Angeles for a three-game home stand. The Calgary Flames will be in town Thursday night; the puck is slated to drop at 7:30PM PT.

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