There was something for (nearly) everyone Thursday night as the Kings and Senators stayed in touch with that seasonal theme.
How about a nominee (Kings goalie Jonathan Quick) for the save of the year? If that wasn't enough, there was a nominee (Ottawa forward Bobby Ryan) for goal of the year as he deked and dangled and made Kings defenseman Brayden McNabb look helpless late in the second period.
And all this was through only two periods.
Then the third got even more curious. The Kings gave up a short-handed goal by the Senators' Mark Stone, and, suddenly, their missing motivation kicked in with two quick goals. That push sparked them to a 5-3 victory over the Senators at Canadian Tire Centre, spoiling the NHL coaching debut of Dave Cameron.
It was the first victory for the Kings in three games and only their fourth win on the road, and the five-goal output looked like a flood of offense compared with their recent scoring woes. Defenseman Jake Muzzin had a career-high three assists, center Anze Kopitar scored for the first time in 11 games and the other Kings goals came from defenseman Matt Greene and forwards Justin Williams, Trevor Lewis and Tanner Pearson.
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, who had a giveaway on Stone's goal at 1:44 of the third, responded with an assist, a slick pass, setting up Kopitar's power-play goal at 2:20, which made it 3-2. Doughty had two assists for his second multipoint effort of the season and his first points since Nov. 25.
Pearson's goal was an empty-netter with 57 seconds remaining with the assist going to Mike Richards and Quick.
It was one of those special nights for Quick. He made 32 saves, most prominently robbing Ottawa's Alex Chiasson at 14:32 in the first period, keeping the puck from crossing the goal line. The NHL's situation room reviewed the play and supported the call on the ice that it was no goal.
"He makes a good move and beats me, so I'm just trying to stick an arm out there and hope it hits me," Quick said. "You get lucky sometimes. I'll take it."
Was there any doubt he stopped it?
"When it hit my glove, I knew I had it in front of the line," Quick said. "But I didn't know I was going to stop it when he was shooting it. I didn't really see where he was shooting it."
Just add this to the list of Quick's highlight-making saves.
"He's got so many," Muzzin said. "Some of those saves are ridiculous. That's just another one he's put together for everyone to enjoy watching."
The timing was especially important. The Kings were struggling to find energy in the first period and Quick's save kept it a scoreless game after one period. Muzzin said that Kings Coach Darryl Sutter expressed his displeasure after the lackluster first period.
Sutter, meanwhile, turned a question about Quick's save into a bigger-picture answer.
"Fighting for a win," Sutter said. "Had two games where he didn't get much offensive support and he doesn't like losing games. At the end of the day when you ask Jonathan, always what does he say? He says it's about wins; not very often he loses two in a row."
The game turned the Kings' way after the short-handed goal.
"There was two or three times during the game here we had good response," Sutter said. "After the first period we did. After that goal, we did.… It's not clear sailing or easy sailing."
Muzzin, who has 14 points in the last 16 games, downplayed his three assists, saying, "It doesn't mean much."
Then again, Muzzin can always find it handy when he is verbally sparring with his defense partner, Doughty.
"And I will use that," Muzzin said, smiling. "I will."
KINGS AT MONTREAL
When: 4:30 p.m. PST Friday
On the air: TV: Ch. 13; Radio: 790.
Etc.: The Kings and goalie Martin Jones came into Montreal last season and left with a 6-0 victory. Jones is expected to start against Montreal. Said Muzzin: "Well, we're not going to go in thinking we're going to win 6-0 again."