This was not a great game for the Los Angeles Kings, who faced a rested Montreal Canadiens team that were 0-2 in California before their matinee matchup.
Interestingly enough, Carey Price didn't steal the show. Well, not in the way you'd think considering Trevor Lewis punked him. No, really. It was All American Hero Trevor Lewis!
American Hero Trevor Lewis makes it 4-3 #LAKings #MTLvsLAK pic.twitter.com/nhF0zLUu3W— Eric Burger (@Kingsgifs) December 4, 2016
That's probably the biggest highlight of the afternoon considering that it was an incredibly sloppy, sleepy game for the most part. I guess that's not fair considering the Kings exploded for four goals in 20 minutes... while allowing two... For you Andrew Shaw fans out there, or at least remember him for what a pain he was to play against in Chicago, he was back to his ways terrorizing the Kings. He scored the game-tying goal after Peter Budaj gave up a huge rebound.
This was not Budaj's best game, either. It's the third in a game where the Slovakian netminder struggled to find some consistency and control. This was a perfect example of the defense needing to bail out the goaltender and the goaltender needing to bailout the defense. Neither happened and the result was a 5-4 shootout loss.
Among other surprises, Alexander Radulov is enjoying a somewhat unexpected career renaissance in Montreal and he was probably the biggest difference yesterday afternoon. But, he wasn't the only non-star to make an impact. Nick Shore actually shot the puck (instead of passing, yes, I was shocked, too) and scored! On Carey Price, no less!
Speaking of star players. In our preview, we tabbed Max Pacioretty as a player to watch. He'd been in a bit of a slump and was prime for a breakout. Having a bad time? Need to break out of your scoring drought? Why, nothing cures that better than a Kings game! He notched two goals, including the opener, which came on the Habs' third shot on goal (but not the first! Progress!) Radulov threaded the needle across the crease and Budaj didn't cut down the angle properly. On the broadcast, Jim Fox put the blame more on the Kings' defense than Budaj (even though he didn't apply geometry correctly). On the one hand, yes, but on the other... The goalie has got to make that save.
The penalty kill, which had been on a pretty good streak up until the Coyotes' game, went two for five. Their power play, which has been struggling mightily this entire season (they were ranked 28th in the league prior to puck drop - how there are two other teams that are worse than LA is a mystery) actually went two for four. Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter got the man-advantage markers.
Twice the Kings went ahead in this game and twice the Habs tied it. It was a frustrating, sloppy game in which the home team had trouble staying disciplined and struggled to be their normal, stingy defensive selves. After Shaw's early goal in the third period, the game went to overtime and then a shootout. Warning, incoming shootout rant: they suck; they're annoying; they're a massive buzzkill when games are close; if soccer (football) can make ties work (even with penalty kicks), can we just abolish the shootout? Ugh.
Anyway. Kings will finish out their homestand against the Hurricanes and the Senators, two teams that are "should" be beatable. The Sens are somehow second in the Atlantic Division despite having mediocre numbers (average PDO, flat shooting percentage, average goaltending).
They'll hit the road for a season-high nine-game road trip after that. Only three points out of first place, this next stretch will prove to be a critical test for the boys in black and silver.