It was the Los Angeles Kings most wildly entertaining game of the year. On Thursday October 24, 2013, the Kings managed to build a four-goal lead over the Phoenix Coyotes, lose that four-goal lead, and still win by 3 goals.
It was also a big night for firsts. Anze Kopitar scored his first goal of the season, as did Mike Richards. Matt Frattin scored his first goal as a member of the Kings, and perhaps most surprisingly, Dwight King scored his first-ever NHL Hat trick.
The first period saw the Kings dominate. They played extremely well, winning battles for loose pucks, forechecking with a purpose, and making great plays. Goals by Kopitar, King(2), and Jordan Nolan led to a 4-0 lead after one period. The Kings outshot the visitors, 15-5.
The second period was much more evenly played, as Phoenix fought back to cut the lead to 4-2. Shots on goal were even at 12 apiece.
In the third period, it took just 2:50 for the visiting team to score twice and tie the game at 4-4, then the sleeping giant awoke. The Kings regained the lead courtesy of a short-handed goal by Mike Richards at 4:19. Richards deftly tipped the puck away as Phoenix regrouped in the neutral zone, went in on a clean breakaway and scored on a perfectly placed backhand shot.
Mike Richards still has the highest hockey IQ of any forward in the league.
Matt Frattin then tipped in Drew Doughty's point shot at 12:11 to give the Kings a 6-4 lead, and then King put the icing on the cake when his empty netter ended the scoring and sealed the 7-4 victory.
Though play was a bit uneven after the first period, the Kings showed signs of really coming together as a team. Dwight King spent the evening skating with Kopitar and Justin Williams, and definitely made the most of it (Dustin Brown skated on a line with Jarret Stoll and Trevor Lewis).
Kings' Head coach Darryl Sutter re: Dwight King, "He's been pretty good the whole time. He goes about his business every night. He doesn't stand out, but as I said, it's good to see him get rewarded for goals. He's our most solid left winger night in and night out."
Official Three Stars of the game: 1) Kopitar 2) King 3) Doughty
Next up for the Kings will be the speedy, talented, but somewhat undisciplined Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night, Oct 27 at Staples Center. Game time is set for 6:00 pm PT.
*Sunday will also be the first "McDonalds Legends night" of the 2013-14 season. Former Kings defenseman Jay Wells will be honored. All fans in attendance will receive a commemorative Jay Wells 'bobblefists' doll.
Line combinations - Oct 24 vs Phoenix:
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