The Kings sealed the season’s road slate while matching a bit of club history, trumping Edmonton quite handily in a 3-0 win Thursday evening at Rexall Place, tying the franchise record for most wins in a single season with their 46th regulation win of the campaign.
For the Kings, Thursday’s game was about staying sharp in anticipation of the playoffs, against a team they’ve been more than sharp against in recent years.
That they did, and are now 10-0-2 in their past twelve visits to Edmonton, not having lost a game in regulation time at Rexall Place since February 28, 2008.
Anze Kopitar put the Kings on the board in the game’s opening shift, driving to the net and tipping home a pass delivered from Justin Willams from the right wing side to give the Kings a 1-0 lead 27 seconds into the contest.
It was Kopitar’s 200th career NHL goal, and his 27th goal of the season, tying Jeff Carter for the team lead.
Marian Gaborik, who came into Thursday’s tilt hot offensively with eight points (1G, 7A) in the last eight games, continued to strike in Edmonton, scoring the second goal of the night for the Kings, slamming home a dribbling puck that landed in his wheelhouse after Willie Mitchell whiffed on a shot attempt to give the Kings a 2-0 lead nine minutes in.
Gaborik wasn’t done, later registering the third and final goal for the Kings in the second period, utilizing his quick wrists and release, and a screen from an Oilers defenseman.
Gaborik entered the Oilers’ zone alone as two Edmonton defenders held their gaps, then quickly fired what looked to be a helpless wrister through the legs of Jeff Schultz, which disrupted Viktor Fasth’s view of the puck, giving the Kings a 3-0 lead with 6:05 to play in the second period.
With three points (2G, 1A) Thursday, Gaborik now has eleven points (3G, 8A) in the Kings’ last nine games.
The Kings stayed out of the penalty box for the second consecutive game, something that they’ve never done since the 1989-’90 season.
Ryan Smyth, who played 161 games in a Kings uniform, registering 107 points (48G, 59A) played in his second-to-final NHL game tonight, as he is expected to retire after 20 NHL seasons.
Martin Jones registered his 12th win of the season, stopping all 17 of Edmonton’s shots, recording his fourth shutout of the season, and setting a new club record for shutouts in a single season.
The Kings’ previous mark of 12 shutouts was set on April 2, when Jonathan Quick stopped all 17 shots he faced against the Coyotes. Prior to Quick’s shutout that night, the previous record was 11 shutouts, set during the 2010-’11 season.
Quick has six shutouts, Jones has four, and Ben Scrivens, who didn’t play against the Kings Thursday, recorded three in a Kings uniform earlier in the season.
The Kings ended their season compiling a road record of 23-14-4, just one win shy of tying the club record for road wins during a single season (24) set by the 2009-’10 roster.
They ended the season on a perfect note against the Oilers, going 4-0-0 against Edmonton this season, outscoring them 12-3, including an OT goal.
The Kings will return home to STAPLES Center to put a cap on the regular season Saturday night as the Anaheim Ducks come to town for what should be a dandy of a finale, puck slated to drop at 7:30 PST.
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