For Hockey Night in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Kings decided on a fun throwback theme of “‘90s Night” which proved to be a boon for this team, who scored
five four goals and treated fans to a vintage performance. These one-time Smythe Division rivals swapped roles tonight as the Edmonton Oilers looked slow, clueless, and out of sorts throughout most of the game.
Some Quick Hits:
- Anze Kopitar reached his milestone 300th goal
- Jonathan Quick earned his 51st career shutout and 300th career win
- Dustin Brown is the second longest tenured King, appearing in 1,078 games, passing Luc Robitaille
And now on to the recap.
Right from puck drop, the Kings had a lot of jump in their step. Kyle Clifford got the scoring party started early with a nice little self-pass move to get into the offensive zone largely unimpeded.
Who knew Clifford had such soft, sweet mitts? By the way, he scored six goals all of last season and has now matched that total. He’s pacing for about 10 goals, which would be very remarkable if he can achieve that, considering how um not great this team is.
Anyway, Tyler Toffoli wanted to do some goal scoring, too. His first attempt didn’t quite work, though he did make a nice move shortly after Clifford’s goal. His second attempt was more successful and just so beautiful.
Upon entering the zone, Toffoli decided to pick on Alexander Petrovic, stripping him of the puck and pulling a nifty little backhand-forehand move, which fooled Mikko Koskinen and allowed our young hero to score easily.
Well, not to be left out, Jeff Carter had to throw his hat into the ring. On a two-on-one breakaway with Brendan Leipsic, Carter streaked down the right wing boards with nary an Oiler in sight. He had a lot of time to decide where to put the puck and he picked far post.
So much time and space there. He probably could’ve stopped and made a sandwich or decided on tomorrow night’s dinner plans with how much time the Oilers weirdly gave him.
That goal was enough to chase Koskinen and bring in Cam Talbot with a little more than six minutes left in the first period. He did have one more chance with just under two minutes in the period, but Talbot kicked it away.
With Carter’s goal, it was also the first time all season that the Kings have scored three times in the first period and only twice that they’ve scored three times in one period. Funny enough, that was also against the Oilers. That doesn’t really mean much but they are #fun #facts. The Kings did hold the Oilers to only three shots on goal and managed nine themselves.
This was a really boring, really quiet period. Jim Fox insisted that the Kings were doing it on purpose to slow down Connor McDavid and some of Edmonton’s faster skaters. Probably the most notable thing that happened was that Adrian Kempe got tangled up with Adam Larsson and there was a brief scare that he maybe was hurt.
My groin hurts just looking at that, but he took it all in stride, like nbd, it’s fine. Kempe himself says he’s flexible, so I guess we’ll just have to believe him.
The real highlight, though, was Surrey Thunder broadcaster Tony Babcock bringing his spark to the booth. He cracked jokes and livened up what was a rather dull period.
For all the world, it looked like the third period would mimic the second. To their credit, the Oilers did press in an attempt not to be shutout, generating three high danger chances and nine chances overall. But Quick was there to shut the door and maintain his shutout.
Early on Brown and Kopitar had a few good looks, but couldn’t connect until midway through the period. Ilya Kovalchuk exited the neutral zone and hit a streaking Brown in stride who found Kopitar who had the time and patience to pick his spot.
Similar to Carter earlier in the game, Kopitar had so much time on his hands, he probably could’ve done his taxes.
One amusing thing happened at the very end of the game. With 1:16 left, Kovalchuk or Brown (someone, not sure who, exactly) scored to make it 5-0. Ken Hitchcock apparently hates fun because he challenged for offside. Upon further review, Brown was pretty clearly ahead of the puck, but still. It’s not like the challenge was going to change anything except make the team look slightly less bad when it comes down to it. But, okay.
All you wanted to do when you were a kid was become an adult...— LA Kings (@LAKings) January 6, 2019
...and then when it happens you remember how good you had it as a kid. pic.twitter.com/CvWQEh0AVz
With tonight’s victory, LA jumps all the way up to #27, surpassing the Chicago Blackhawks (tied in points and games played, but the Kings have more wins), the St. Louis Blues (who have four games in hand), the Philadelphia Flyers (two games in hand), and the Ottawa Senators (one game in hand). They’re creeping up on the Arizona Coyotes, and in fact have the same amount of points, but the Coyotes have two games in hand. Perhaps this team will be able to actually make a run for the playoffs down this stretch. Time will tell.
Goodnight, Kings fans.