Carter's goal gets Kings past Canadiens
Tonight’s results just about mocked those of Saturday afternoon.
An early goal, padded with a game-winning power play goal, all secured by yet another iconic performance from Jonathan Quick gave the Kings a 2-1 win tonight, sweeping the season series against the Montreal Canadiens for the first time in franchise history.
In what was an even-keeled battle tonight at STAPLES Center, the Kings stood strong against a red-hot Montreal roster, which came into tonight’s contest riding a five-game point streak.
It didn’t take long for the Kings to find the scoreboard, as Jake Muzzin lasered home the first goal of the night, his fifth of the season, past Montreal’s Peter Budaj less than two minutes into the game.
Muzzin’s goal came on the Kings’ second shot of the evening, after Tyler Toffoli delivered a gorgeous cross-ice pass to Muzzin, who had time and space aplenty to set up his shot because of Toffoli’s vision.
The Kings outplayed the Canadiens with speed, physicality, and overall puck control throughout the first period, but Montreal caught a lucky break to tie the game 1-1 late in the frame.
P.K. Subban released what looked like a harmless wrist shot from atop the Kings’ zone, but Subban’s shot deflected off Jonathan Quick’s pads, off the back of Jarret Stoll’s ankle, and past Quick, who didn’t have time to react to the pinball effect.
The second period saw the Kings earn their second power play opportunity of the evening after Ryan White was penalized for a holding infraction.
The Kings pounced.
Alec Martinez controlled the puck along the top of Montreal’s zone, then fed Anze Kopitar a pass atop the Canadiens’ crease, who then backhanded a gorgeous pass to Jeff Carter who was sitting alone on the back door of Peter Budaj.
Carter one-timed Kopitar’s pass home for his 22nd goal of the season, giving the Kings a 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish with 13:46 left to play in the second period.
The Kings entered the third period with a 2-1 lead, and by sustaining it, are now 18-0-0 this season when leading after two periods of play.
Jonathan Quick stopped 17 of Montreal’s 18 shots tonight, and has now stopped 66 of 68 shots directed his way in his three games back from the Olympic break.
Jarret Stoll played in his 700th career NHL game tonight. Stoll recorded one shot and four hits in 13:44 of ice time tonight.
The Canadiens, who are first in the NHL with 18.8 blocked shots per game, blocked 16 Kings shots tonight.
The Kings have now won five straight games, outscoring opponents 15-7 in that span. Their record sits at 35-22-6 after tonight’s win, which is good for 76 points, and sits them at sixth-place in the Western Conference.
It’s now off to Canada for the Kings, where they’ll kick off a three-game swing through Manitoba and Alberta with a game Thursday evening against the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre.