"Secondary scoring" is a constant topic of discussion around the Los Angeles Kings. Scoring doesn't get much more secondary than what we saw on Tuesday night, in LA's 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers.
For starters, Matt Greene scored.
What kind of goal elicits that reaction? A pretty nice one, as it turns out. Greene's well-placed tip was preceded by a pinpoint shot-pass from Brayden McNabb, which was preceded by Anze Kopitar bullying Brian Campbell with his backside. Kopitar's ability to move with the puck and navigate defenders means that we occasionally forget how strong he is, but this was a good reminder.
Greene's goal inspired some of LA's more prominent goalscorers to put their stamp on this contest. Specifically, Nick Nickson mentioned on the radio when the game was still scoreless: "Jeff Carter has just one goal in his last ten games, and Marian Gaborik has only two goals in ten games all season." He then explained that in general, LA's veteran forwards were struggling to get themselves going. Carter and Gaborik were given great chances to find the net and did so, thanks to a suddenly lights-out power play. The Kings scored three power play goals in a game for the first time since their dramatic Game 2 comeback win over San Jose in 2013. The last time before that, naturally, was Game 6 of the 2012 Final.
While not as memorable as either of those two, the power play effectiveness was still a treat. Two very different goals, too. The first only needed two good passes to work. Jamie McBain picked up the puck along the boards at the blue line and fired the puck to Dwight King down low without hesitation, putting the Florida defense on their heels. King paused for a moment, then found Carter right in front, and Carter made no mistake on the finish. The second goal, however, was a bit more unusual, with the Kings passing the Panthers into oblivion.
Gaborik was only too happy to knock that rebound home, making it a three-goal second period for Los Angeles. And we thought that would be sufficient, but Robyn Regehr came in to score in the final minute. Secondary scoring rules! Regehr is your first McFlurry hero of the 2014-15 season, though you can thank Roberto Luongo as well for not getting any sort of read on Regehr's shot. (I'm not going to, because why take Regehr's moment away from him?) Regehr's reaction as seen up top was perfect, as was the stunned expression of Tyler Toffoli. Regehr couldn't stop laughing about the goal in his postgame interview, and it reminded me that in spite of Regehr's frequent on-ice struggles, I like the dude!
Not as much as Thx Bud, though.
The first period had been a strong one for Florida, but LA's four-goal outburst was part of a dominant second period. Sutter was rather displeased about the third period, in which Jimmy Hayes and Jussi Jokinen scored to throw a sliver of doubt on the outcome, but that is to be expected when you're carrying a four-goal lead into the last 20 minutes. Dustin Brown, another perenially struggling forward, snuck a shot through Al Montoya with three minutes left to seal the deal. Brayden McNabb's assist was his second point of the evening, and every other Kings' defenseman found the scoresheet.
Willie Mitchell did not, but we still love him anyway.