The Key Three: March 22
Three key aspects of the Kings' 1-0 shootout victory over the St. Louis Blues
1. QUICK SAVES THE DAY
Jonathan Quick made the iconic save of the night when, in a prone position, he lunged with his glove up and snared Jamie Langenbrunner’s shot when 2:40 remaining in regulation. Quick was near-flawless. He benefited from a couple missed shots by the Blues, but as Jim Fox noted after the game, at least one of those missed shots was influenced by Quick’s solid positioning. In a tight game, Quick looked sharp and confident, and allowed the Kings to play with confidence, even when they faced an overtime penalty kill. Quick recorded his eighth shutout, tied for the league lead and tied for most ever by a Kings goalie in a single season.
2. FIRST-INTERMISSION RESET
Here’s what went well for the Kings in the first period: they didn’t allow any goals. That’s it. The Blues held a 12-3 advantage on shots on goal, and the game wasn’t even that close. That’s not a huge surprise, given that the Blues have a plus-26 scoring margin in the first period this season. So, for the Kings to get to the first intermission in a scoreless game counted as something of a victory. But that type of play was not sustainable. The Kings had to improve, or they were going to lose. So, they improved. The Kings came out with confidence in the second period, and while they didn’t score in regulation, they looked like a different team over the final two periods.
3. ONE BIG KILL
One could almost feel the air go out of Staples Center when Justin Williams got called for tripping Patrik Berglund with 1:55 remaining in overtime. More than 18,000 people seemingly groaned at the same moment. The Kings did a magnificent job, though, of killing the penalty. The Blues recorded only one shot on goal during that 4-on-3 power play. At the end of a long, brutal night, Matt Greene and Willie Mitchell were on the ice for the entire 1:55, with only one whistle for a breather. Anze Kopitar blocked two shot attempts in the final 10 seconds and the Kings held on to force the shootout, which they won in the fourth round on Jeff Carter’s goal.