LOS ANGELES – Finishing up their lengthy home stand Sunday afternoon against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Kings made franchise history – again, in their 5-2 win at STAPLES Center.
With the win, the Kings posted the club’s first ever perfect 6-0-0 record during a six game home stand, the previous best was 5-0-1 during the 1990-’91 season at the Great Western Forum.
The offense punched the Kings past Columbus after the Blue Jackets got on the board late in the first period. Three second period goals and a pair in the third allowed the Kings to jump their early deficit and cruise their way to a convincing win.
“Tonight wasn’t our best game of the home stand,” Darryl Sutter said following the win. “Carter was the best player on the ice and Tanner managed to chip a couple in.”
On a power play early in the second period, Jeff Carter tied the game for the Kings, putting away a loose puck in front of Columbus’ crease after Tyler Toffoli threw the puck into traffic. Carter’s goal was his fifth of the season.
Late in the second, the Kings took a two-goal lead when Tyler Toffoli and Dwight King scored 2:02 minutes apart from one another. Toffoli wristed home a back-door shot after receiving a gorgeous pass from Jeff Carter, and Dwight King snapped home the Kings’ third goal of the night after controlling an errant rebound to the left of Columbus’ net.
The Blue Jackets struck back quickly, but only for one goal, Mark Letestu scoring just :32 seconds after Dwight King gave the Kings a two goal lead.
In the third period, with the Kings clinging onto a 3-2 lead, Tanner Pearson struck for two more goals to give the Kings a 5-2 lead, the afternoon’s eventual final score. Pearson streaked down the left side after receiving a long stretch-pass from Tyler Toffoli, and beat Sergei Bobrovsky high and to the right corner. Pearson finished the day’s scoring a few minutes later, chipping home a loose puck to give the Kings a 5-2 lead with 4:34 left to play in regulation.
Pearson, with his sixth and seventh goals of the season Sunday, now leads the Kings in goals scored; he also leads all NHL rookies in that department.
Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli led the team in points (1G, 3A = 4pts each), Jake Muzzin, Justin Williams, and Tanner Pearson in shots (3), Jake Muzzin and Jarret Stoll in hits (4), Robyn Regehr and Drew Doughty in blocked shots (3), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (27:23).
Anze Kopitar left the game late in the second period after suffering an undisclosed upper body injury.
The Kings, who have been playing without the likes of Trevor Lewis, Marian Gaborik, and Slava Voynov, have done quite well for themselves, but the team will certainly be tested with a difficult road trip starting Tuesday.
“It was important to get the points tonight because we’re going on a tough trip,” Sutter said following the game. “I give our team credit for basically playing short-handed through all six games.”
After finishing with a perfect six game home stand, the Kings record lies at 6-1-1, they are also riding a seven game point streak. They’ll now hit the road for four games with stops in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Carolina. The Kings will play the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center. The puck is slated to drop at 4:00PM PT.