LOS ANGELES (AP) -Back in his native Sweden it was about 7:15 a.m. Erik Ersberg's parents were waking up to another day, looking forward to watching a replay of his game against the Ottawa Senators on the Internet.
Back in California, their son had just finished toweling off after posting his first NHL victory and shutout.
Ersberg stopped 40 shots in his third NHL start Thursday night, leading the Los Angeles Kings to a 2-0 victory.
"It's been a dream of mine since I was a little kid," Ersberg said. "It's a great opportunity to play in this league and show what you can do. It feels good to get some games up here. I'm happy for every game I get. That's why I came over here - to play in this league. When you play a couple of games, you want to get more.
He was starting in place of Jason LaBarbera, who underwent season-ending surgery for a sports hernia a day earlier.
Ersberg, the first Swedish-born goalie in Kings history, stopped 16 shots in the first period, including a slap shot by Jason Spezza that knocked his mask off midway through the first period. The shot left Ersberg dazed for a few moments.
Ersberg, who turns 26 years old on Saturday, is one of 10 different goalies the Kings have used since the start of last season.
"We saw him last year at the World Championships. We had him identified before that, and then we watched him there. We had a hole on our reserve list in that age group, so we took a shot at him," said Kings assistant GM Ron Hextall, who played in the NHL for 13 seasons.
"His athleticism and quickness are the best aspects of his game, as well as his lateral movement. He's not the biggest guy, so he's got to use his athletic ability. Obviously, this gives us a chance to look at him and gives him a chance to prove something. But I can't imagine him locking up a spot for next season in these last 14 games."
Ersberg had a couple of close calls in the waning moments, including a slap shot by Andrej Meszaros that deflected off another stick in the low slot and off the left post with 44 seconds remaining.
With about two minutes to play, Christoph Schubert took a short wrist shot that glanced off Ersberg's glove and fell behind him. He clamped his glove on the puck just as it reached the goal line, and referee Mike Leggo blew his whistle while motioning "no goal." Replays confirmed that Nick Foligno poked the puck across the line a split-second after Leggo blew his whistle.
|Los Angeles Kings goalie Erik Ersberg kneels on the ice after being hit in the head by a slap shot from Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza during the first period on Thursday, March 6, 2008, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jeff Lewis)
"I had no idea if it was in or not," Ersberg said. "It was under my glove, so I guess it was hard for him to see if it was over the goal line or not."
The Senators, who are two points behind Pittsburgh and Montreal for the most points in the Eastern Conference, have lost six of their last seven games and have been shut out three times during that stretch. They came in with a league-leading 219 goals.
"As hard as you play and as well as you play some nights, you have to find a way to score goals, said coach Bryan Murray, who is 2-2 since returning to the bench after firing of John Paddock. "We played so hard in the third period and had many chances, but we can't find a way to score a goal."
Ottawa's Martin Gerber finished with 30 saves. The only shot that got past him was a 15-foot wrist shot along the ice by Frolov that found a tiny space between Gerber's skate and the right post at 8:10 of the second. Patrick O'Sullivan scored an empty-net goal with 4.3 seconds remaining.
Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson, who leads the team with 37 goals and 79 points, sat out his second straight game because of back spasms.
Notes: This was the Senators' first visit to Staples Center since Oct. 15, 2003. ... Ottawa is 1-8 this season when Alfredsson is not in the lineup. ... The Kings have killed off all 17 opponents power plays over their last five games, including three by the Senators. ... Los Angeles D Rob Blake needs one more goal to tie Bob Berry's total of 159 for 10th place on the team's career list. Blake also needs one more point for 700 in the NHL. ... The Senators have allowed 10 power-play goals in their last eight games. ... The Kings are 9-1-1 against Ottawa at home.