Lacking glamour, devoid of headlines and you rarely get mentioned unless things go seriously wrong.
Penalty-killers = hockey's construction workers.
But that is exactly what kept the Kings' winning streak intact on Tuesday night. It was a hard night of work for their penalty-killers as the Kings beat Detroit, 1-0, at Staples Center, which was their eighth straight victory and helped solidify their third-place spot in the Pacific Division.
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who was named the NHL's No. 1 star of the week on Monday, started his bid for a repeat performance with his fourth shutout of the season as he made 20 saves. It was the 35th shutout of Quick's career and second against Detroit.
"It just feels like some nights, you look at him, and you look at the saves he makes and you think, he's not letting anyone score tonight," said right wing Justin Williams, who had the only goal.
"He's been a rock certainly throughout this winning streak and he'll continue to be."
The Kings are three points behind second-place Vancouver, which also won on Tuesday night. But the out-of-town scoreboard finally did the Kings some favors as two of their pursuers, Calgary and Minnesota, both lost earlier.
Maybe the Kings special-team unit — the penalty-killers— should be sponsored by an ice-bag company, for all the shot-blocking and abuse in front that they endure. In fact, Kings defenseman Drew Doughty's ice time of 28 minutes 28 seconds included 5:31 of penalty-killing duty.
It was a night of celebration at the start and at the end. Former Kings forward Tony Granato, who is an assistant coach with the Red Wings, was honored in a pregame ceremony as part of the "Legends Nights," held by the Kings.
For the fans, there was plenty to applaud afterward. This happens to be the league's longest active winning streak and the most for the Kings since they won eight straight last season, from Feb. 6 to March 10.
They got there by all those things that coaches love to talk about: hard work and diligence. The Red Wings went 0 for 5 on the man advantage and the Kings have killed off 20 straight penalties, a run starting against the Flames in the second period of that game on Feb. 12.
The lone goal came from Williams, off a tip in front, at 2:24 of the first period on the power play. For Williams, it was his 16th of the season and the assists went to center Anze Kopitar and defenseman Jake Muzzin.
"First and foremost, you don't want to take too many penalties," Kopitar said. "Sometimes that's what is going to happen. We need our PK to be on like it was tonight."
Meanwhile, the day started with a contract extension for the Kings. They announced that winger Jordan Nolan would be getting a three-year extension. The agreement is just under
$1 million per year, according to the Kings' hockey operations department.