This was the kind of game that can give Kings fans hope that the season isn’t totally lost (please don’t get your hopes up).
The Los Angeles Kings topped the New York Rangers with a stimulating 3-1 win.
The first period featured some of the most entertaining hockey the Kings have been a part of in the 2019-20 season. Whether it was Matt Roy’s near miss off of a tumbling Adam Fox after the fast zone entry of the Kempe, Lizotte, and Wagner line, or the penalty kill where Jonathan Quick stopped five shots – the Kings were playing fun hockey where they traded chances with the Rangers.
Drew Doughty absolutely tattooed the crossbar with a heavy shot from outside of the circles and it felt like it would be another period where the Kings couldn’t capitalize on their high danger chances. But take heart Kings fans! In the final minute of the period, the Kings had sustained zone time with shots on Henrik Lundqvist from all over the offensive zone. With 10.1 seconds remaining in the period, Tyler Toffoli’s shot/pass found Dustin Brown and he outwaited a scrambling King Henrik for a 1-0 lead.
Now it was time for the Kings to hold a lead after earning a first period goal.
The second period started with both goalies in vintage form making great saves as the teams again traded chances.
After Doughty forced a turnover at the attacking blueline, the puck popped in the air and Chris Kreider played the puck into the stands for a Kings power play. Anze Kopitar would hit another (!) post on the ensuing man advantage situation. In the final 35 seconds of the power play, the Rangers would generate a couple shorthanded chances but Quick was up to the task.
With 6:38 remaining in the second period, Matt Roy fired a shot from the top of the circle and Tyler Toffoli shuffled the rebound into the net. The Kings took a 2-0 lead.
About a minute later, Brady Skjei and Austin Wagner grappled each other. Wagner was likely answering for a questionable hit he doled out in the first period.
Jonathan Quick was outstanding at the end of the second period, as he was all night, with a few saves on some dangerous scoring chances in rapid succession.
The third period started with the off-ice officials having some trouble with the scoreboard clock. After an undisclosed amount of time, play was underway again at Staples Center.
Following a big hit by Brendan Smith on Mike Amadio, Kurtis MacDermid stepped in and crumpled Smith with three straight right hands. He would have made Wayne, Squirrelly Dan, and all in Letterkenny happy with his effort in the tilt.
With just under 4:30 left in the game, Jonathan Quick made a spinning glove save off a faceoff to rob the Rangers of a goal.
As the Rangers sent the extra attacker onto the ice, Dustin Brown was called for a ticky-tacky tripping penalty creating a 6-on-4 situation for the final two minutes. Artemi Panarin finally solved Quick and put the Rangers on the board with 30.7 seconds left in the game.
Adrian Kempe quickly responded with an empty-net goal, bringing the final score to 3-1.
Tyler Toffoli finished with a goal and an assist (7-8=15) and Matt Roy chipped in a pair of assists (3-6=9). Jonathan Quick stopped 29-of-30 shots and likely would have had a shutout had it not been for the questionable penalty call late in the game.