We've gone on the record as calling Wednesday's game, while exciting, "stupid garbage." Today's game between the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks was also exciting and also went to overtime, but it was far from garbage. Rather, both teams didn't let depleted lineups hold them back, and Jarret Stoll's OT goal finished off a compelling contest.
In the first period, the K-
Wait, sorry, you look like you need further explanation about that whole "Jarret Stoll's OT goal" thing. I can't blame you.
Yes, the overtime hero was indeed Stoll, who netted his first tally of the entire season! You can't say he didn't deserve a goal after what happened on Thursday night, so it was nice to see him poke a pass from Justin Williams through the legs of Frederik Andersen. It was a little sloppier than his last overtime winner, and that's okay! Stoll certainly didn't mind, slamming his stick on the ice in exuberant celebration as the team mobbed him in the corner. The rest of the team will be ribbing him about it, though, if their reaction is any indication.
This. Forever. pic.twitter.com/5asMHzRY7Z— Indiana_Matt (@Indiana_Matt) November 15, 2014
The goal came on the power play, on a night where LA was unable to score at even strength. That's not to say the Kings weren't good at even strength; over the course of the night the possession numbers were essentially even. The eventual LA advantage in shots on goal, though? That was thanks to the much-maligned power play. You can especially see the difference after the Kings went down 2-1.
That stretch between Ryan Kesler's goal near the end of the second and Anze Kopitar's goal midway through the third was huge. Without that, we're talking about an LA team that has lost three in a row. Instead, the consistent pressure gave way to the best power play LA has had all year after Ryan Getzlaf ran into Jonathan Quick.
Here's the play-by-play of the Kings' near-perfect third-period power play. Seven shots, three faceoff wins, a goal. pic.twitter.com/uURdXUiy6a— Eric (@EricJFTC) November 16, 2014
The Kings spent all 1:46 in the offensive zone, and some terrific puck movement set up Kopitar's blast past Andersen. LA had plunged into the bottom five in the NHL in power play efficiency, so the two power play goals were a much-needed boost. Stoll's power play goal was on the rush, but it was actually preceded by another minute-plus of cycling by the 4-on-3 unit.
On the other side of things, the Kings penalty kill not only shut down Anaheim's power play, but they found a goal, and I don't even need to tell you who scored it. At his own blueline, Tyler Toffoli made Getzlaf (otherwise excellent tonight) look silly, poking the puck around him to set up a 2-on-1 with Stoll. Of course, Toffoli took the shot, which tied the game at 1 midway through the second. Kesler and the Ducks came right back down the ice to make it 2-1 before the end of the period, as Bryan Allen noticed the defense ignoring one side of the ice and gave Kesler a perfect shot-pass. Kesler spun around and deposited the puck up high.
Anaheim's other goal was scored when Emerson Etem beat Mike Richards and Brayden McNabb to a loose puck earlier in the second, after 28 even minutes. Jonathan Quick made the other 27 stops, with the aforementioned PK stuffing Anaheim's best chance to win. With Drew Doughty in the box, the Kings sent out McNabb and Matt Greene for the first minute of the kill, with the recently returned Robyn Regehr and Jake Muzzin manning the second minute. And they were terrific. The bottom four d-men need to step up with Martinez and Voynov missing, and tonight, they did in the key moments.
Not everything went according to plan tonight - Trevor Lewis, Kyle Clifford, and Jordan Nolan had the best possession numbers, while Kopitar, Jeff Carter, and Marian Gaborik were not good at evens - but regardless, it's a good win, and one that will ease concerns for a few days.