The Kings played in successive overtime games at STAPLES Center Tuesday and Thursday. The Kings method to arrive all square at the end of OT were very different however. Still at the end of the shootouts, the results weren’t entirely different even though the final result was different, and the method was very different. After 1 shootout win and 1 shootout loss, how the Kings move forward is more important than the two very similar results.
The Kings allowed an early goal off of a face-off to Nashville Thursday. But from that point forward the Kings dominated play. They only allowed 11 shots in regulation. That is almost tied with the franchise record for fewest shots allowed in a game, 10. It’s not just that the Kings were in Shea Weber‘s shooting lanes. But the Kings spent a majority of the time in the offensive third. Still they couldn’t manage to get the puck through to Pekka Rinne. Nashville blocked 24 total shots, equal to the number the Kings had on net.
As to why the Kings couldn’t score another, both Captain Dustin Brown and Jarrett Stoll attributed it to not finding the right areas on the ice. Brown told newLAKings Insider Jon Rosen that, “We’ve just got to [. . .] find the dirty areas on the offensive side of the game” to get more goals.
The Kings had more than enough chances in the shootout though since it went 8 players deep. Carter, Doughty, Stoll, Williams and Gagne all came up empty. Andrei Kostitsyn fooled Quick and slid the puck between this legs as Quick desperately lunged back to recover.
On Tuesday against Vancouver the Kings were down 2 goals, but just before the end of the second period Carter got a rebound goal on the most talked about goaltender in the league. It didn’t look like the Kings would have another shot to get one past Luongo after Gagne and Brown were both called for questionable penalties halfway through the period. But with less than a minute left Voynov blasted one low and beat Luongo through 6 bodies of traffic. The Kings went on to win the shootout despite a cheap penalty (miss) by Alex Burrows and a another final save by Quick.
2 games. 2 overtimes. 2 shootouts. 1 win. 1 loss. 3 points. 2 very different ways to get there. A rousing comeback against the President’s Cup winners whom the Kings destroyed their actual Cup chances last year. And a dominating performance allowing 14 total shots against the Predators. It’s almost a net even, but the Kings could have taken full points.
The Kings proved last season they, and most of the league save Vancouver, don;t much care what seed they finish in as long as they make the playoffs. It would be nice to have a little breathing room in this shortened season however.
As for the Kings mindset heading forward to local rivals the Anaheim Ducks, Jarrett Stoll simply put, “We’ve got to come to practice tomorrow and get on the ice and work on things we weren’t good at here tonight.” There he went again, giving away the whole strategy.