The Key Three: March 3
Three key aspects of the Kings' 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks
1. WELCOME BACK, CARTER
No doubt, it’s been a whirlwind 10-day period for Jeff Carter, who was traded and then flew from Columbus to Los Angeles -- by way of Indianapolis -- then, two days later, flew to Nashville and Minnesota for a back-to-back set, then flew back to Los Angeles. Nobody would have blamed Carter for being mentally and physically exhausted, but in the last couple days, he at least got half a chance to settle into his new surroundings and relax a little. Carter had come close to scoring, several times, in his first three games with the Kings, but last night he put his great finishing touch on display and scored twice, including the game-winner.
2. SECOND-PERIOD REGROUP
Things could have gone very badly for the Kings in the second period. Jeff Carter had just scored a huge goal to give the Kings a 3-1 lead, with 6:07 remaining in the period, but before David Courtney could finish his goal announcement, the Ducks scored to make it 3-2. Devante Smith-Pelly’s goal came just 13 seconds after Carter’s goal, and it was a soft goal. Just like that, the Ducks sucked the enthusiasm out of STAPLES Center, and they easily could have scored one or two more goals. Give credit to Jonathan Quick, though, for regrouping and finishing the game strong. The Kings were tested often, but didn’t give up another goal.
3. POWER-PLAY BREAKTHROUGH
A goal? A first-period goal? A first-period power-play goal? From the Kings? That’s a daily double not seen often this season, and it’s usually a formula for success. If the Kings can score the game’s first goal, take a first-period lead and get the power play going, that massively increases their chances for success. The Kings scored two power-play goals in the game’s first 23 minutes, and it wasn’t rocket science. They went to the hard areas around the net and finished. First, it was Dustin Brown with a deft move in close range. Then, it was Jeff Carter with some quick, accurate hands to knock a loose puck past Jonas Hiller.