LOS ANGELES – The Kings were in dire need of something positive tonight.
Coming off of a road-trip that saw them go 0-4-0, and riding a season-high give-game losing streak, it was no secret.
They rediscovered their scoring touch, and rediscovered their number one goalie. Jonathan Quick made a stellar return to the Kings’ crease tonight – showing no signs of missing 24 games.
The Kings played tonight’s contest with a faster, more aggressive, and undoubtedly more poised flair than they had in any of their previous four games on the road.
The Canucks, though, would get on the board first tonight. While Jeff Carter was serving an infraction for hooking Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler whistled home a puck high over Jonathan Quick – who was in the midst of moving laterally, gauging Vancouver’s impressive puck movement.
That gave Vancouver an early 1-0 lead.
The Kings weren’t phased mentally by allowing another power play goal – as they continued to pressure Vancouver – showering Roberto Luongo with pucks all night long.
Luongo seemed to be unbreakable as the game progressed, as the Kings were unable to put a single puck past Vancouver’s goaltender on 35 shots through two periods of play.
The Kings out-shot the Canucks 18-6 in the second period alone.
Dustin Brown got the Kings off the scoring schneid, and tied with game 1-1 with 18:53 left in regulation when he slammed home a rebound past Roberto Luongo for his eighth goal of the season.
Jeff Carter would put the Kings on top 2-1 with 7:55 remaining in the third period, snapping home a beautiful pass from Dwight King – beating Roberto Luongo to the top-right corner for his 14th goal of the season.
Dwight King, who showed magnificent effort in beating Vancouver’s defense to the puck, showed outstanding puck control and awareness to feed a wide-open Carter for the night’s eventual game-winner.
Carter would bury an empty-netter with :09.5 seconds left in the contest to give the Kings a 3-1 lead.
Jonathan Quick, who sat out 24 games prior to tonight with a groin strain, was simply remarkable in his return. Quick stopped 27 of Vancouver’s 28 shots, including a few key chances Vancouver had late in the game to preserve the Kings’ lead.
The Kings are now 3-0-0 this season against the Vancouver Canucks, outscoring them 10-4 in regulation time in those meetings. These two clubs will meet again at STAPLES Center on January 13, and for the final time on April 5 at Rogers Arena.
Now with a 26-13-4 record, which is good for 56 points, the Kings sit at sixth-place in the Western Conference.
The Kings will continue their five-game home stand as the Minnesota Wild come to town Tuesday night. The Kings opened the regular season in Minnesota on October 3, beating the Wild 3-2 in a SO at the XCEL Energy Center.
Puck drops against the Wild at 7:30 Tuesday night at STAPLES Center.