After the incredibly emotional night beating the Calgary Flames two nights ago, everyone figured it would take the Los Angeles Kings a while to get into this game. And a while it took—like 32 minutes a while. Lucky for them, Jonathan Quick was up to the task.
The Vancouver Canucks had thrown 18 shots on goal by the time the Kings scored. It took a period and a half for them to get the legs moving but they finally did thanks to an Alex Edler penalty. Good things tend to happen for the Kings when Edler is involved. Usually that involves him tripping over the blue line but in this game it was a careless penalty. LA had spent very little time in the offensive zone to that point and as Jim Fox noted, this would give them an opportunity to do just that.
Jarome Iginla got the game-winning goal when he deflected an Alec Martinez shot on the man-advantage. Nick Shore also picked up an assist as Dustin Brown drove the center lane and provided a good screen in front of Ryan Miller. Finally, that seemed to get the Kings going as they started to generate more and better quality chances. Tyler Toffoli got his first goal since March 14, giving him 15 on the season. Gotta wonder, if he hadn’t missed like 20 games with an injury, would he be able to repeat 30 goals this season? Then again, when the team has reached double digits in shutouts and he played in most of them, it might be a moot point. Toffoli’s goal came with 3:22 left in the period.
After that, the Kings were very careful to maneuver in the defensive zone and limit the Canucks’ chances. When the Kings did test Miller, the Vancouver netminder was up to the task. In the final frame, the Canucks pushed hard but Quick shrugged off their opportunities. Jeff Carter nearly tacked on a third goal but just missed tied up with his backchecker while they crashed the net. Jonny Brodzinski was also inches from his first career early in the second period but shanked the puck. Poor kid. This happens when you’re a King.
The big storyline coming into the game was brother versus brother: Nick versus Drew Shore. Their parents were in the stands tonight cheering their sons on. Fun fact: third youngest Shore Boy, Quentin Shore, was a prospect in the Ottawa Senators system. They didn’t sign him and he was invited to the Kings’ training camp in September. The Denver University alum signed a Professional Tryout and was originally assigned to ECHL Manchester Monarchs. He was in Ontario for a bit eventually earning an AHL contract, went back to New Hampshire, and was recalled by the Reign again just a few days ago. Youngest Shore Boy, Baker, is an 18-year-old Harvard University commit who is draft eligible this year. So keep an eye for more Shore boys in the future. But back to the two who are actually in the NHL. The edge may have to go to Nick, who was credited with one point and won 45% of his faceoffs, though Drew won 50% of his faceoffs. Maybe call it a draw. Neither one really stood out much, which, for Nick is ideal. Generally if he’s noticeable on the ice, he’s either having the best game of his life or a terrible one. That’s usually how it works with LA’s third and fourth line centermen.
Speaking of brothers, Henrik and Daniel Sedin can still play. Time looks like it’s finally creeping up on them, but they still had their fair share of chances. Another Canuck who had a great game was Bo Horvat. He didn’t score (obviously), but he was a force to be reckoned with, setting up glorious chances all over the place. He’s going to be mighty dangerous once he grows a little and learns the ins and outs of the NHL more; the 21-year-old only has 76 career games under his belt.
Iginla’s goal put him for the 15th all time on the NHL scoring list tied with Joe Sakic. Man, what a storied career he’s had. Thankfully, now that he’s on the Kings, he can do far less damage against.
Jarome Iginla: tied for 15th in all-time NHL goals, still not on the #NHL100 for some reason.— Jewels frm the Crown (@JFTC_Kings) April 1, 2017
Insert frog and tea emojis here.
Quick earned his second shutout of the season and 44th of his career. Everyone says LA might be in a better position if Quick hadn’t been hurt this season and while it’s not worth speculating because, well, we’ll never truly know, he’s lost four games in a row despite allowing eight goals against. Maybe he probably could’ve stolen more points than a fatigued Peter Budaj down the stretch like he did against the Cancuks, but unless he could score for them, they’d probably still be in this predicament.
Theoretically, the Kings have to win out the season in any fashion to have a chance at the playoffs. However, the Nashville Predators only need three points in their next five games in order to clinch a spot. The Flames and St. Louis Blues both won their matches tonight, punching their tickets to the postseason. Should Nashville only pick up two points over the next week and LA pick up all 10 in their games, Kings have ROW tiebreaker having won the season series (according to the broadcast). Any LA loss eliminates them.