The Kings picked up their second win in as many nights, beating the New York Rangers handily in their 4-2 win Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
For the Kings, the two points earned Tuesday keeps them at pace in the Western Conference’s tight playoff race, but they still find themselves outside of the postseason picture. The victory was impressive in itself; the Rangers came into the night having won seven of their previous eight, and 17 of their previous 23.
The evening didn’t start off so hot for the Kings; New York’s Mats Zuccarello took advantage of a turnover and beat Jonathan Quick just 51 seconds into the game to give the Rangers an early 1-0 lead.
Zuccarello’s early tally didn’t hurt the Kings attack, as they fired away for 16 first period shots following New York’s opening marker.
Robyn Regehr got the Kings on the board midway through the first, tying the game 1-1, when a wrist shot he fired from the point caromed off of a Rangers defenseman and past Cam Talbot.
Marian Gaborik gave the Kings their first lead of the night when he slammed home an Anze Kopitar feed into an open net just under five minutes into the second period. Just Williams initiated the play from behind the Rangers’ net, finding Kopitar out front, who then fed a wide-open Gaborik to produce the goal.
Entering the third period with a 2-1 lead, the Kings were quick to find insurance to extend their lead. Dwight King denied a New York clearing attempt along the left half-boards, carried the puck down low, then found Jeff Carter, who was streaking to New York’s net with a perfect pass. Carter tapped King’s feed past Talbot to give the Kings a 3-1 lead just over a minute into the third.
Just over four minutes later, and with 14 minutes remaining in regulation time, Jake Muzzin struck to give the Kings a 4-1 lead. Anze Kopitar, after driving the puck into New York’s zone and circling around Cam Talbot’s net, found Jake Muzzin open atop the point. Upon receiving Kopitar’s pass, Muzzin walked in and fired a wrist-shot high past Talbot’s glove side.
New York’s Kevin Hayes got the Rangers back to within two with under four minutes to play, but that’s as close as they would get. The Kings secured a 4-2 victory; their second win in as many nights.
The Kings now have 86 points in the standings, but are still outside of the Western Conference’s playoff picture. They’re tied with Calgary for the final playoff spot in the Pacific Division, but the Flames own the tiebreaker. The Kings are two points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second and final wild-card berth.
Anze Kopitar (2A) led all Kings players in points scored (2), Justin Williams in shots taken (6), Dustin Brown in hits delivered (5), Alec Martinez in shots blocked (4), and Andrej Sekera in minutes played (26:31). Jonathan Quick made 24 saves in the win.
With the win, the Kings’ record improves to 36-23-14; their mark on the road away from STAPLES Center jumps to 14-14-7. The Kings are now 2-0-0 on their current five-game road trip. The Kings will pay their final visit to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Thursday night, when they take on the New York Islanders – the puck is slated to drop just after 4:00PM PT.