Los Angeles Kings vs Montreal Canadiens Game Six Recap: A Swede Night

Hats off to the young rookie who had a heck of a game!

Justin Turner homered but sadly, Dodgers couldn’t sweep. Womp womp. Back to the other LA sports game.

This was not a tremendously exciting game through the first two periods. The Los Angeles Kings and the Montreal Canadiens looked like they’d swapped roles from years past. The Kings were the high flying team generating lots of scoring chances while the Habs collapsed next to the net and hoped and prayed that Al Montoya could bail them out whenever anything did happen to get to him.

Darryl Sutter and Claude Julien are cut from the same cloth in many ways and the Habs showed off their new(ish) coach’s DEFENSE FIRST style quite well for a while, carefully corralling and dumping in the puck (though they would often cross their offensive blue line with speed when space was yielded to them) and retrieving with a good forecheck.

For all intents and purposes, the fourth (or whatever number you want to assign it) line has sucked. We wrote in the pre-game notes that Adrian Kempe ’s line simply needs to be better and start chipping in every once in a while. They did just that with eight combined points between Kempe and Michael Cammalleri . Not a bad night for the bottom six.

The first two periods were really boring. The Habs started the scoring in the first when Paul Byron beat Derek Forbort—twice—to slam the puck home. As frustrating as it had been to watch, the Kings got the goal back on the power play after Alex Galchenyuk tried to shoulder Tyler Toffoli in the head. In the spirit of baseball postseason, Cammalleri batted home a bouncing puck to finally beat Montoya.

Even though Dustin Brown didn’t score or register any points in this game (though not for lack of trying), it’s been fun to watch him in these first few games.

The above graphic is from the first period before the team scored on the power play. Brown ended the night with four shots on goal and +14 in corsi (28 CF, 14 CA) in just under 21 minutes of ice time. He did have a couple of good chances early in the first but was denied by Montoya.

The second period was dull and uneventful and about as tight as possible. LA finished killing off a Trevor Lewis penalty but both teams played it close to the vest.

Unfortunately, Jeff Carter did seem to suffer some kind of injury when Jeff Petry checked him.

The third period started off with the Kings just throwing everything possible they could at the net. Kempe finally broke through with the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal. At first, no one saw it, except the ref and whoever does the goal light. On a two-on-one, Trevor Lewis passed the puck to Kempe for a, well, maybe not perfect, but a good tip-in.

According to Jim Fox, Jordie Benn pinched, but didn’t have forward support leading to the odd-man-rush and subsequent goal against.

Not to be outdone, linemate Cammalleri decided to add an insurance goal. The Habs were in the midst of line change, there was mass confusion on their part and Cammalleri manages to get Montoya out of position and eventually a stick on the puck.

Kempe turning on the jets and channeling the injured Carter for his second goal was a beautiful thing. He comes from deep in his own zone and blows past everyone else on the ice (stick taps to Jake Muzzin, Lewis, and Tanner Pearson for good puck protection in their own zone thereby allowing Kempe to start a rush the other way) to score. Andrew Shaw tried in vain to do anything possible to stop the Swede but simply couldn’t.

Oh my. That was so beautiful, I’m going to need a minute.

Okay, I’m back. Two minutes later, Kempe capped off his hat trick with another gorgeous goal. The puck bounced to him in the slot after Cammalleri’s short side attempt failed and deflected off Montoya’s arm.

For Kempe, it was his first ever NHL hat trick and second ever professional career hat trick. His first came almost exactly two years ago as a rookie in the AHL.

Kempe and Cammalleri did their part to chip in with four points each. I guess that’s pretty good.

Post game, Jon Rosen delivered some news that none of us were hoping for.

No panic here. Nope. None at all.

Pour one out for bitter CBJ fans.

Justin Auger made his NHL debut in this game and looked pretty solid. Or at least confident and even drew a penalty. He played less than 10 minutes, so with Carter’s injury, it’ll be interesting to see what John Stevens does on this upcoming road trip. Do the Kings recall another forward or just stick with what they’ve got? It’s only six games and they typically carry two extra forwards anyway. Nic Dowd is still with the team and is a center, so it might make sense to just rotate him in along with Auger in place of the injured Carter.

As noted, the Kings start their road trip on Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets and won’t be back home until Nov. 2 when they face the (currently) red-hot Toronto Maple Leafs.