The Key Three: Dec. 15
Three key aspects of the Kings' 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
1. Singing the old standards
Perhaps somewhere, Terry Murray allowed himself a small grin. All season, Murray had preached the values of ``shot mentality’’ and ``net presence,’’ and on Thursday, their second game since Murray had been fired, the Kings used both to score two big third-period goals. On both goals, defensemen fired shots from the blue line, and both times Dustin Brown was in front of the Columbus net to do the dirty work. The first time, Brown distracted -- interfered with? -- Curtis Sanford as Davis Drewiske’s shot got through. Then, on the game-winning goal, Brown deflected in Drew Doughty’s slap shot from the point.
2. Third-period fight
Thirteen times this season, the Kings had trailed going into the third period, and out of those games, the Kings got exactly one point. It had been almost a full calendar year since the Kings rallied from a second-intermission deficit to record a win. Given their offensive woes of late, things didn’t look great for the Kings as they faced a 1-0 deficit going into the third period. But the Kings’ work ethic had been good for two periods, and they kept pushing. The Kings recorded 15 shots on goal in the third period, scored twice in a four-minute span and then still had enough energy and grit to hold off the hard-charging Blue Jackets late.
3. Penalty killing
The Kings haven’t done many things well over the past couple weeks, but they certainly have been able to kill penalties. The Kings have now killed 46 of their last 48 penalties, and that unit has been particularly impressive in the past three games. In those games, the Kings have inexplicably taken an early penalty in each game. Simon Gagne took a penalty six seconds into Thursday’s game -- yes, six seconds -- but the Kings killed the penalty and prevented the Blue Jackets from scoring an early goal, which would have been devastating to the Kings’ psyche. The Kings went 3-for-3 on the kill, even without Willie Mitchell.