Kings coach Terry Murray has never been a big fan of the shootout in the NHL. This week, he really doesn't like it.
For the second consecutive night, the Kings got to a shootout in a low-scoring game but only picked up one point, as they fell to the shorthanded Vancouver Canucks 2-1 on Thursday night before 16,838 at Staples Center.
Scott Parse scored his first NHL goal in the first period to give the Kings a 1-0 lead, but Mikael Samuelsson tied it with 1:24 left in the period. It stayed tied until Samuelsson scored the deciding goal in the third round of the shootout.
"It's a useless part of the game, the shootout, but the fans love it," Murray said. "For that, I like it, because the fans are excited. They're standing up and waiting for the next shooter. It is good for the game, but boy, do I hate it."
The scoreboard read the same as it did the previous night in San Jose, when the Sharks topped the Kings 2-1 in a shootout. The games, though, couldn't have been any different.
The San Jose game featured two teams going all-out to score, generating exciting scoring chances and high shot totals. Thursday's game featured a Vancouver team that rarely gave much thought into forays into the Kings' zone, by design.
"They played a real slow-the-game," Murray said, "five guys back at their own blue line kind of a game, and took a lot of the emotion and speed out of the game. That was a good strategy by them. It was a good plan."
It was effective. The Canucks, without injured stars Roberto Luongo, Daniel Sedin and Pavol Demitra, among others, had to know that their best chance to win, or at least get a point, was to pack it in and play a defense-first game.
That's exactly what they did, and the Canucks got some help from a Kings team that appeared to be weary, didn't go to the net as often as usual and didn't have that final burst to finish the quality scoring chances they did generate. Andrew Raycroft had an outstanding game in goal in place of Luongo.
The Kings, coming off a recent four-game stretch in which they scored 20 goals -- to briefly take the league lead in goals scored -- have now scored two goals in their last two games.
"It was a nice, greasy road win," Raycroft said. "We’ll take them all year. It was nice to win on the road. We did a good job killing penalties and keeping that top line off the score sheet. No time, no space."
The Kings outshot the Canucks 31-15, and got another solid effort in goal from Jonathan Quick, but pushed just one goal across for the second straight night.
Two points in two nights left the Kings satisfied, but not exactly happy. It also left them in first place in the Pacific Division, by one point over idle San Jose, and gave them one of the best Octobers in franchise history.
"You got to take away the positives," Quick said. "The team’s playing great and we took both teams into a shootout. Unfortunately we ended up on the short end of the stick there, so you just got to keep pushing, keep doing what you’re doing, and get back at it tomorrow."
The Kings, who don't play again until Monday in Phoenix, went 8-4-2 in October and nearly matched their best October ever, a 19-point 9-3-1 in 1990.
Parse continued his strong play since being called up from the AHL last week, and got rewarded for it with his first NHL goal.
Neither team got much going in the first 10 minutes of the period, but the Kings struck first with 8:33 left, shortly after Vancouver recorded its first shot on goal.
Teddy Purcell controlled the puck near the right boards, then pushed it up to Parse, whose one-time slap shot from the top of the right circle beat Raycroft high, and to the far post, for a 1-0 Kings lead.
The Canucks, who did little offensively for the first 18 minutes of the period, scored on their third shot on goal of the game. Alex Burrows went behind the net to play the puck. Rob Scuderi challenged, but Burrows' centering pass got just past Scuderi's stick, and Samuelsson beat Quick on a one-timer from the slot to tie the game 1-1 with 1:24 remaining in the first.
The Canucks only had 12 shots at the end of regulation, but they accomplished their goal by keeping the Kings off the board.
Anze Kopitar had a good chance in the final minute, when he brilliantly weaved through the Canucks' zone but got stopped by Raycroft. Otherwise, the Kopitar line, with Ryan Smyth and Wayne Simmonds, was shut out for a second consecutive game.
"The first thing we wanted to do obviously was shut down their best line," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "I thought, except for that last shift where Kopitar was able to read our defenseman, our guys did a pretty good job containing them and keeping them to the outside.
"They’re such a strong line. From there it was about being patient and waiting for the right opportunity."
The Kings are 4-0-2 in their last six games. The last time they earned a point in six-straight games was March 7-18, 2007 (3-0-4)...The Kings finished October 8-4-2 (18 points). The 18 points is tied for their second highest October point total in club history (19 points, 9-3-1, in 1990)...The Kings’ eight wins is the second highest total in October as well (1990 team had nine wins)...The 18 points is tied for the eighth-best 14-game start in club history (best was 9-1-4 = 22 points in 1974-75)...Scott Parse scored his first NHL goal tonight. He was three points in four games since his call-up from Manchester (1-2=3)...The Kings have killed 18 of 20 penalties in the last six games (90 percent)...The Kings have out-shot their opponent in the first period 25-9 in the last two games...Teams combined for 50 hits tonight (LA 26, VAN 24)...Celebs in the stands: Jessica Lowndes of the new 90210 fame sang the National Anthem and enjoyed the Kings game as did Canadian pop star Justin Bieber and MTV stars Rob Dyrde and Drama aka Chris Pfaff, celebrity couple Jennifer Finnigan and Jonathan Silverman and Craig Ferguson, host of the Late Late Show, were all in attendance.
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