On March 1, 2014, both torrential rains, and the Hurricanes from Carolina came to Los Angeles. Fortunately, both provided a bit of a scare, but ultimately neither left town victorious. The Los Angeles Kings were inside Staples center dealing with the Carolina Hurricanes, while outside, record rainfall was hammering the city.
The Kings have a history of being a bit sluggish during day games at home, so the 1:00 pm PT start time did not seem to be the ideal situation for the home team.
The signs of possible disappointment were there early on:
Midway through the first period, Tyler Toffoli was the beneficiary of a giveaway deep in the Carolina zone, but shanked his shot wide of the vacated net.
Less than a minute later, Dwight King had a partial breakaway but was hooked by Mike Komisarek on his way to the net. On the ensuing power play, Mike Richards had a great chance to tip in Jake Miuzzin's point shot, but tipped it wide of the net.
The Kings finally got on the board late in the first period:
Having shot the puck wide of the net just moments earlier, defenseman Robyn Regehr again had the puck at the left point. This time, he fed the puck across to Mike Richards who was camped out at the bottom of the right faceoff circle. As Richards attempted the severe angle shot, defenseman Ron Hainsey tried to tip the puck away. As a result, the puck knuckleballed, and fluttered past Carolina goalie Anton Khubodin at 19:04 to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.
Regehr's hero status did not last long:
As the first period wound down, Carolina had possession of the puck in the Kings' zone. Defenseman Andrej Sekera ripped a slapshot from the point. It was a high, rising shot which Regehr, who was in the slot in front of goalie Jonathan Quick, tried to glove down. Unfortunately, the puck deflected off Regehr's glove and went past Quick. The game was tied 1-1
In the second period, both teams had good scoring chances, but neither side was able to put the puck in the net.
As the third period approached the halfway point, the hustle of the Kings' line of Trevor Lewis, Kyle Clifford, and Linden Vey paid off in a big way:
Breaking out of their own zone, Vey got the puck to Clifford, who fed a lead pass to Lewis in the neutral zone. As Lewis was about to split the defense and break across the Carolina blueline, Carolina forward Jiri Tlusty took a penalty for tripping Lewis. On the ensuing power play, Dustin Brown went to work. Justin Williams' shot went just wide of the net. Brown retrieved the puck behind the Carolina goal, and fed a pass to defenseman Alec Martinez who hammered the puck into the Carolina net with 11:45 left in the game. That power play goal proved to be the difference, and that power play would not have happened, had the fourth line not been skating hard.
With his team protecting the 2-1 lead, Justin Williams added an empty net goal with 61 secs to play.
Final score; Kings 3, Carolina 1.
Said Martinez, “You have to be good in the third to win games, that’s probably a no-brainer. We got the lead, we were tied and then we got the lead and we just found a way to push through and get that go-ahead goal and then just shut it down. But most importantly trying to push it to the next goal and stay on our toes and to not sit back and let them come at us, I think is the most important thing.”
This was the Kings' fourth straight win.
Kings outshot Carolina in each period, and by a margin of 31-25 for the game.
Three Stars of the game:
1) Jonathan Quick
2) Drew Doughty
3) Jarret Stoll
Kings line combinations:
Kings defense pairings:
Carolina line combinations: