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LAst Night's Action: Kings Have Fun with Bolts
LA Kings defeat Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0. Don’t call it a statement game.
“It’s another hockey game,” Kings’ Head Coach Terry Murray said. “It’s a game against the top opponent in the game. I don’t look at it as a statement game. It’s just a game you’ve got to respond to and play hard.”
In a game where both the Kings and Lightning combined for 65 hits, the Kings made the most of a turnover at the blue line to dispatch the now-former leaders of the Eastern Conference.
“There were a few hits, a few confrontations,” Murray said. “A little old time hockey there with the scrums that were going on.”
Lightning Head Coach Guy Boucher agreed. “That was a playoff game, and nobody’s going to give each other an inch.”
The intensity started right off the bat with Jarret Stoll displaying his skating skills deking through defenders. It took Lightning’s goalie Mike Smith standing on his head with the aid of his defenders preventing two sure Kings’ goals from going through.
The physicality amplified when Mattias Ohlund left his skates and launched into Dustin Brown 8:59 in the period leaving Brown down on the ice for several moments. Brown eventually got up and played his shift in that ensuing five-minute boarding major penalty.
And that power-play was a work of something-or-other. To quote Murray, “Our power-play: ungh-ungh.”
The Kings managed only two shots-on-goal during that five minutes and netted five shots on four power-play opportunities, however the Bolts’ power-play was also stymied having only one shot during their three opportunities.
“They didn’t’ let us any time to set up, so there was no power-play,” Boucher said. “Basically when you look at our side too we didn’t give them much on their power-play either, so it wasn’t a power-play game on either side. It was going to be fought five-on-five and it was going to be the last mistake.”
That mistake came early in the third period when Stoll got his stick on Matthew Roy’s pass at the blue line. Ryan Smyth got the handle of the puck, made the perfect pass to Justin Williams who shimmied his way around Smith and put the puck in the back of the net.
“It was really the way I was positioned,” Williams said. “I felt that was my only move. Fortunately it went in, he didn’t poke-check me or anything.”
Williams tied his career-long goal streak to four games.
So while Murray didn’t want to call it a statement game, how about fun?
“It was a really fun game,” Williams said. “Everyone was really into it on our bench, everyone was yelling on the bench.”
And with Lightning winger Steve Downie looking to pick a fight between Drew Doughty and Willie Mitchell while ducking Kyle Clifford, Downie finally got what he asked for in the third period.
“We care for each other,” Williams said. “Someone takes a cheap shot on one of us, we get in his ear. We’re not going to get pushed around.”
As for Doughty in his first game coming off of a concussion, “He showed a lot of composure in the offensive zone,” Murray said. “It’s just great to have him back. He looked real excited and enthusiastic and really contributed to the game tonight.”
The Kings lead the NHL with 18 points leading the Philadelphia Flyers by one point.
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