Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog opened the scoring with his 14th of the season at 3:09 of the first period; however, it was all L.A. after that.
Jeff Carter tied it 1-1 at 1:16 of the second and Tyler Toffoli scored the eventual game winner at 6:24 of the middle frame as the L.A. Kings defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 Wednesday night.
Drew Doughty had a pair of assists in the win.
“With the way the schedule is and the way the season is and the importance of every game, you need something out of everybody,” said Kings’ coach Darryl Sutter. “It’s really hard to play guys who have only got five or six goals. We need more out of [them]. If they’re going to play teen-minutes as forwards, you have to get more out of them, and what you’re seeing is some balance out of our forward group.”
L.A. has now won six straight while out-scoring opponents 23-12 during the win streak. The Kings now have the same point total as the San Jose Sharks (66) for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.
Jonathan Quick made 42 saves in the win including 18 in the second period.
Semyon Varlamov stopped 21 shots in the loss.
“I can’t complain,” said Avs coach Patrick Roy. “I understand it’s frustrating because that was a big game for us. At the same time, I’m very happy with the effort. I’m very happy with how we competed. I’m very happy with how hard we worked, back checked [and] our fore-check was there.
“We got a lot of shots [and] we had a lot of traffic in front of the net. I thought we did a lot of good things. Nothing to show for it tonight, but I think this is how we have to play.”
Carter added his second of the night into an empty net. Dustin Brown had the other Kings’ goal.
Tonight marked the first of three games between the two clubs. They’ll meet again on March 10 in Denver.
Earlier, we passed along Alex Ovechkin’s denial of Ryan Getzlaf’s diving accusations, but (regrettably) didn’t see that Ovechkin suggested Getzlaf’s comments might’ve come from follicle envy.
From the Washington Post:
After Ovechkin buried the Anaheim Ducks in a 5-3 win beneath his second four-point game of the season, his counterpart captain, Ryan Getzlaf, accused him of diving. Did Ovechkin have an answer?
“No response,” Ovechkin said, before then offering one. “Maybe he’s just jealous. I have hair, he don’t have hair. We can start talking about it all day long. I think it was comment because he was disappointed they lost. Again, it is what it is.”
You don’t normally hear players go after other players’ hair — or, lack of it — but I think Drew Doughty opened the floodgates during All-Star weekend in Columbus when he ripped on Kevin Shattenkirk’s salad during the Fantasy Draft.
As such, everything is f-hair game now.
If the Ducks are primed to make a move for Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers, it’s news to their general manager.
“The last time I talked to [Sabres GM] Tim Murray was at the GMs meeting in November,” Anaheim GM Bob Murray told ESPN Tuesday. “I have not had a discussion with him since.”
So…that’s that, then?
To be fair, there was good reason to suspect the Ducks were in on Myers. Earlier this month, a report from TVA’s Renaud Lavoie claimed Myers talks between Buffalo and Anaheim had “intensified.”
There’s also Anaheim’s well-known desire to add a physically imposing, shutdown defenseman that’s been missing since the Chris Pronger-led Cup team of ’07. This past offseason, Murray acknowledged a standout blueliner was the big difference between his team and the reigning champion Kings.
“You watch the Kings, for example, and you watch how Drew Doughty has emerged as a superstar,” Murray explained, per the Ducks’ website. “Do we have a defenseman who can be that way? When we won the Stanley Cup, we had Scotty and Chris [Pronger]. That’s in the back of my mind all the time.
“Where is that guy, can you find that guy, and can you afford that guy?”
Related: Video: ‘Keep an eye’ on Ducks, Predators at trade deadline, says McKenzie
Dustin Brown thinks it’s a matter of emotion. And maybe there’s something to his argument. The way the Kings play when they’re successful takes commitment.
But Darryl Sutter disagrees. He doesn’t think his team’s problems have as much to do with emotion as they do with a different “personnel.”
“We’re not the same team,” Sutter said after last night’s 4-0 loss to Washington, per L.A. Kings Insider. “It’s a quite a bit different team.”
The biggest difference is on the blue line, where Willie Mitchell is no longer and Slava Voynov may or may not be again. The result is Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin logging around four minutes more per game — Doughty’s averaging 29:20, compared to 25:42 last season — and Brayden McNabb playing, period.
And it makes one wonder if frustrated GM Dean Lombardi will be active at the trade deadline, perhaps acquiring one of the available right-shooting defensemen to replace Voynov.
Because make no mistake, the Kings are in trouble. Nobody’s counting them out — never count out the Kings — but according to Sports Club Stats, their chances of making the playoffs have fallen to 30.9 percent.
The Kings play Thursday in Florida and Saturday in Tampa Bay before finishing off their five-game road trip Monday in Columbus.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
It sounds like Sam Bennett is making some nice progress toward a return for the Calgary Flames. (Calgary Sun)
Former Colorado Avalanche GM Francois Giguere is focusing on helping players handle their finances. (Denver Post)
Five coaching blunders that may or may not compare to Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll’s disastrous play call. (The Hockey News)
Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $3,000. Starts Tuesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.
It might be best for the Columbus Blue Jackets to “focus on the future” rather than this season. (Columbus Dispatch
As festive as it must have been when the Los Angeles Kings visited the White House, the most memorable thing to come from the photo op was probably Marian Gaborik giving Gary Bettman a hard time for his foot wear on Instagram
Here’s the photo:
Gaborik’s caption reads: “Tough shoes Mr. Bettman at the White House @nhl @nhlpa.”
Drew Doughty brings it back to labor unrest: