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Aftermath: Kings 5, Penguins 2

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins had trouble the final 40 minutes of the game containing the Los Angeles cycling game as the Kings trapped the Penguins in the defensive end numerous times, finally solving Marc-Andre Fleury during the third period. The Kings 32-23 advantage in shots tied for the largest negative disparity for the Penguins all season. Pittsburgh had several chances to extend their lead, but Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick combined timely saves with a little help from his goal post to keep Los Angeles close and give them the energy to make the comeback.

Disappointed with giving up four goals in the third period, the Penguins already depleted lineup took another hit before the game as Tyler Kennedy was a late scratch. The Penguins will look to hopefully get him back in the lineup on Saturday when they face the San Jose Sharks, as the Penguins look to avoid losing back-to-back regulation contests for the first time under Dan Bylsma. Pittsburgh has been at their best all year when facing adverse conditions, so expect a spirited effort.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Jarrett Stoll scored the go-ahead goal with 7:51 to play, and the Los Angeles Kings roared from behind with a four-goal third period in a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.

Jonathan Quick made 21 saves in a standout performance for the Kings, who ended the Penguins' season-opening, seven-game road winning streak.

Sidney Crosby battles Jack Johnson
(photo by Getty)
What Worked Well: Marc-Andre Fleury
The game sheet says he gave up a season-high five goals while stopping 27 shots, but Marc-Andre Fleury was the primary reason the Penguins took a 2-1 lead into the final frame. Fleury stopped 19 of 20 shots through the first 40 minutes, including a couple dandies on NHL scoring leader Anze Kopitar.

What Could Have Gone Better: Third Period
Prior to Thursday night the Penguins had been 8-0 this season and 19-0-1 all-time under Dan Bylsma when leading after two periods. Both those perfect records fell tonight as the Penguins gave up four goals in the third period, including two in a 23-second span to turn a 2-2 tie into a commanding lead the Kings would never relinquish.
Chris Kunitz did all he could to help the Penguins extend their road winning streak to eight games. Standing in the slot he gave the Penguins their only lead of the night when he deflected a Brooks Orpik point shot past Jonathan Quick at 10:51 of the second period. The goal gave Kunitz three scores in his past five games.

Kunitz led the Penguins with a season-high six shots on goal as his line with Sidney Crosby and Bill Guerin registered 11 of the Penguins 23 shots overall. He also had one hit and one takeaway.
Los Angeles struck first just 27 seconds into the contest. Both Penguins’ defensemen converged on Justin Williams at the blue line as he fed Anze Kopitar cutting down the left side. Kopitar got Marc-Andre Fleury out of position and deposited the puck into the open cage. Los Angeles 1, Pittsburgh 0.

The Penguins responded quickly 43 seconds after Kopitar’s tally as Chris Conner took a pass out of the zone from Jay McKee and skated in over the Kings’ blue line. Conner dropped a pass to Jordan Staal, whose rocket of a slap shot beat Jonathan Quick top shelf. Pittsburgh 1, Los Angeles 1.

Chris Kunitz gave the Penguins their first lead of the night at 10:51 of the second period when he deflected a Brooks Orpik wrist shot behind Quick standing between the circles. Pittsburgh 2, Los Angeles 1.

Kopitar scored his second goal of the evening at 6:17 of the final period when he wrapped a backhander behind Fleury. Kopitar made the whole play happen by first winning the faceoff and then finding Williams open in the slot. He scored on the rebound of Williams’ attempt. Pittsburgh 2, Los Angeles 2.

Fleury had a miscommunication with his defensemen and Dustin Brown stole the puck away in the near corner and passed to a streaking Jarret Stoll breaking down the right side from the bench. Stoll’s wrist shot from 25 feet beat Fleury upstairs. Los Angeles 3, Pittsburgh 2.

Los Angeles put the game away 23 seconds later when Alexander Frolov’s wraparound attempt caromed off a host of bodies in front and ended up behind Fleury. Michael Handzus was the last King to touch it. Los Angeles 4, Pittsburgh 2.

Dustin Brown finished the scoring during a delayed penalty call against the Penguins. A beautiful tic-tac-toe passing sequence saw the puck go from the stick of Jack Johnson to Stoll to Brown at the bottom of the near circle. Brown rifled a snap shot past Fleury for the score. Los Angeles 5, Pittsburgh 2.
Head coach Dan Bylsma had planned on keeping the trio of Jordan Staal, Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke together for tonight’s game, but Kennedy ended up being a late scratch, the fourth game he has missed in the past five. Chris Conner dressed and played in Kennedy’s spot, netting the primary assist on Staal’s first-period goal.

Thursday marked the first time the Penguins saw former teammate Rob Scuderi since he left to sign with the Kings as an unrestricted free agent in July. Nicknamed the “Piece” last season, Scuderi was presented his Stanley Cup ring earlier in the day by Penguins’ co-owner Ron Burkle. Scuderi finished plus-1 with two blocked shots in 18:15 of ice time.

While the final score did not end up in the Penguins favor, they did win the physical battle over the Kings, outhitting them 35-23. Craig Adams finished with eight hits and Brooks Orpik added six. Pittsburgh also blocked 11 shots compared to six for Los Angeles, led by four for Jay McKee, the NHL leader in blocked shots.
> Scoring Summary:
LA, A. Kopitar (12), 0:27 1st period: Kings 1, Penguins 0
PIT, J. Staal (4), 1:10 1st period: Penguins 1, Kings 1
PIT, C. Kunitz (3), 10:51 2nd period: Penguins 2, Kings 1
LA, A. Kopitar (13), 6:17 3rd period: Penguins 2, Kings 2
LA, J. Stoll (4), 12:09 3rd period: Kings 3, Penguins 2
LA, M. Handzus (6), 12:32 3rd period: Kings 4, Penguins 2
LA, D. Brown (5), 17:30 3rd period: Kings 5, Penguins 2

> The Penguins’ 12-4 record through 16 games is the second-best start in team history behind the 13-1-2 start in 1994-95.

> Pittsburgh’s 5-2 loss to the Kings snapped a seven-game road winning streak that tied the team record first set March 14-April 9, 1993.

> The Penguins are now 30-7-4 in the regular season since head coach Dan Bylsma took over. They have a record of 15-3-3 on the road. Projecting Bylsma’s record through the equivalent of half a season, the Penguins would go 60-14-8, which would give them a team-record 128 points. Pittsburgh has scored four or more times in 22 of the 41 regular-season games under Bylsma.

> Pittsburgh is now 1-1 on a four-game road trip that will take them to Los Angeles, San Jose and Boston before they return home Nov. 12 to face the New Jersey Devils.

> Alex Goligoski continues to pace the league with a plus-14 rating after a plus-1 effort against the Kings. Goligoski is tied with Calgary’s Dion Phaneuf for the league-lead among defensemen with six goals.

> Jordan Staal played in his 236th consecutive game against the Kings, moving him past former defenseman Ron Stackhouse into fourth place on the team’s all-time list.

> Jay McKee’s assist on Staal’s goal leaves him one assist shy of 100 career helpers. McKee now has points in back-to-back games.

> Brooks Orpik now has points in four of his past five games (0G-5A) after his second-period shot was deflected in the net by Chris Kunitz.

> Chris Conner’s assist on Staal’s goal was his first point as a member of the Penguins.
1. A. Kopitar
2. D. Brown
3. J. Stoll
“We didn’t capitalize on our chances and we didn’t
play well in the third and in a tight game like
that you can’t afford for that to happen.”
- Sidney Crosby


Author: Jason Seidling

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