Well, it was a 3-2 league...— LA Kings (@LAKings) December 8, 2017
The Senators came to town on the second half of a back-to-back having been shutout twice in their prior two games. This was an insanely wacky game that the coaches of both teams are probably going to have a field day with breaking down video of What Went Wrong.
As befitting this game, the Senators tied the game with 9.2 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and at least get a point. Drew Doughty apparently didn’t like that so 32 seconds into OT, he decided to score.
This was kind of a weird game in the sense that the Sens and Kings were trapped in a cycle of LA scoring first followed shortly by Ottawa answering.
The Kings scored first when Tyler Toffoli beat his man one-on-one, drew eyes to himself then dished to Tanner Pearson for his fifth of the season.
Derek Forbort took an interference penalty shortly thereafter and that was followed by a Torrey Mitchell hook. Before anything could happen, a rebound bounced off of Darcy Kuemper, through Doughty's legs and right to Matt Duchene, who answered for his new team. On another power play late in the period, Toffoli had a breakaway and even had the goalie beat but just couldn't tuck it in. Jim Fox attributed it to Toffoli coming in at top speed, though the forward later said that was just a dumb move by him and he should've put it in. With 90 seconds left in the first frame, Mitchell set up Anze Kopitar for a glorious open net chance but Mike Condon was able to make a desperation save and just got a piece of the shot. So the period ended tied, 1-1. The shots were 15-11 in favor of Ottawa but LA had the better chances. In fact, Natural Stat Trick has the Kings with 14 scoring chances for and only four against.
The rest of the game was much more evenly played as the Sens found their legs and their confidence at not being down by like four goals.
In the second period, just as a Kings penalty was expiring, Pearson had another fantastic chance to score on a breakaway but Condon didn't open up. However, a minute later, Alex Iafallo scored on yet another breakaway (it was a theme). The guy who does all the little things right actually managed to score. With the goalie IN the net! Dustin Brown sprung Iafallo for a breakaway who wired a wrister past Condon in Fox's favorite spot--over the pad and under the blocker.
It’s so beautiful.
But that wasn’t acceptable to the visitors. Less than three minutes later, Jean Gabriel Pageau scored his third goal of the season. Deep within his own zone, Forbort turned the puck over to Gabriel Dumont, Doughty wasn’t able to get his stick on Ben Harpur ’s pass to Pageau who was completely alone in front. He turned and surprised Kuemper with a backhand shot. Kings had a flurry of chances to regain the lead at the end of the period, but somehow the puck didn’t go in. Magic or something.
LA hit at least three or four posts in this game and had a bevy of chances, but still had trouble scoring. It was one of those kinds of nights. With about three and a half minutes to go, the score still knotted at two, Kopitar won the puck cleanly back to Christian Folin and Brown, battling Erik Karlsson in front, managed to get a stick on it for the team’s third lead of the night and Brown’s 12th of the season.
Let’s pause here and chat about Brown for a second, shall we? The New York native has 12 goals in 30 games, putting him on pace for 32.8 goals and about 71 points overall. He managed just 14 goals in 80 games a year ago. He’s shooting at his highest rate since the 2007-28 season when he tallied 60 points in 78 games. If he stays healthy, he could easily eclipse that number. But it’s still relatively early.
Duchene was again a factor in the tying goal. He passed through Jake Muzzin’s legs to Ryan Dzingel alone in front of the net. It was an outnumbered situation (6v5) so it’s hard to be TOO mad that he was alone but then again, the Kings couldn’t clear the puck and if they had, they would’ve been spared the pain of overtime. Of course, then Doughty wouldn’t have been able to pad his stats this season.
Doughty has quietly collected 24 points so far, putting him in a three-way tie for first place with Nick Leddy (6-18) and John Klingberg (4-20) among defensemen. Leddy and Klingberg have played two and one game fewer than Doughty, though, so their points per game are slightly higher.
On Doughty’s game-winner, he came all the way from his own zone along the boards to the middle of the ice, snapping off a quick wrist shot to beat Condon high glove.
This victory puts the Kings’ win streak at seven. Seven, you ask? Let’s hope they make it eight!
The Kings will face the Carolina Hurricanes next, who blew a 3-0 and 4-1 lead against the San Jose Sharks. It’ll be great a game for getting confused over whether the broadcasters are saying Kings or Canes! They sound remarkably alike when these guys are calling the game at high speed.