Kings Keep Rising in the West, Beat Tampa Bay
Payback is a bitch. After being shellacked by Tampa Bay on Oct. 15 to the tune of 5-1, the Kings served it right back to the East's-best Lightning 5-2.
Opening of the Floodgates. Most of the first period saw the two teams feeling out each other. The Bolts seem to have the early advantage getting in three shots on goal before the Kings managed to record their first. The puck seemed to live in the Kings zone.
About half way in the period the tide started to change. The Lightning defensive coverage started to become a bit more liberal, so to speak. The Kings started to hunker down on the attack. It seemed to fly in the face of the saying that the first home game after a road trip is a let down.
"I think it's hogwash," Justin Williams said. "We had a great practice coming back this morning — Guys were jumping, guys were excited to play at home again."
Drew Doughty was especially excited as he skated unimpeded into the Lightning zone, dropped the puck off to Anze Kopitar trailing the play on the right wing whose one-timer gave the Kings the 1-0 lead with just over five minutes left in the period.
And, like Miley Cyrus, the Kings couldn't stop.
Two minutes later on the power play, Slava Voynov's shot from the right point was tipped in by Matt Fratin in the slot. Early in the second period Justin Williams guided the puck past Bolts goalie Ben Bishop.
Even when the Kings had to kill a penalty, a turnover by the goaltender Bishop led to Linden Vey feeding Dwight King for the spectacular shortie.
Ben Scrivens. Remember when the Kings couldn't find a goalie? Those years apparently seem to be over. After being forced to trade Jonathan Bernier to Toronto because he was too good, the Kings brought in Ben Scrivens. It seemed like a catastrophe when Quick strained his groin on the first game of the road trip.
But Scrivens bounced back with two consecutive shutouts and threatening Quick's record of 202:11 scoreless streak set in 2011-12. A power play goal by Valtteri Filppula in the second period broke the Scrivens' streak at 191:19, but Scrivens didn't hang his head after the game.
"I want to win more than I want shutouts," he said. "I am happy that we won."
Dustin Brown Scores!!! That was certainly one to celebrate. The last time the captain scored a goal was on Nov. 2 against Nashville. It was also the last time he recorded a point. Although the Kings have been successful with Brown missing from the score sheet going 5-0-1, Brown's absence was certainly glaring.
You can hear the relief even in the crowd as he finally got on the board.
West Race. The Kings have certainly emerged from their early season malaise and despite the injuries to Jeff Carter, Jonathan Quick, Kyle Clifford and Matt Greene, the depth in the organization has resuscitated them.
The Kings despite the injuries are in a good place evidenced by their win over one of the East's best teams, a team that had recently beaten division-leading Anaheim 5-1 even without their scorer Steven Stamkos.
Chicago and Anaheim have 32 points to lead the West (and the League) while the Kings join three other teams (St. Louis, San Jose, Phoenix) with 31 points. Colorado and Minnesota have 30 points.