Sports

Kings are comfortable in close games

SportsLos Angeles KingsDustin Brown (ice hockey)Pittsburgh PenguinsWinnipeg JetsBrandon SutterStaples Center

Call this the month of the one-goal game.

Four of the Kings' last five games have been won by one goal. They beat Washington in a shootout at home last week and swept their three-game trip by one goal each, winning the second one, at Washington, again in a shootout.

It's an admirable asset to have in the stretch run, gearing up for the playoffs and possessing the ability to perform in tight situations.

"I think we're comfortable in those types of games," Kings captain Dustin Brown said after Thursday's 3-2 win at Pittsburgh in regulation.

"Couple of games, blew [the] lead. It's about just grinding it out. It's getting closer to playoffs. You're never going to have … very seldom are you going to have an easy game."

The Kings have won eight straight on the road, tying a franchise record, and will have a shot at nine in a row Thursday at San Jose. They first won eight consecutive road games from Dec. 18, 1974 to Jan. 16, 1975.

Overall, the Kings have lost just three times in their last 16 games, a stretch going back to Feb. 6. In that span, they had an eight-game winning streak, which ended in a loss to Toronto on March 13.

Special teams

The penalty-killing efforts by the Kings — ranked 11th overall in the league — were superb against the Penguins. Pittsburgh went zero for seven with the man advantage Thursday, two days after Washington went two for four against the Kings.

Heading into Friday night's action, Washington and Pittsburgh were the league's top two teams on the power play, respectively.

"I don't know what our percentage is, but we have the right type of players and right type of attitude," Brown said. "I thought we did a really good job up the ice. Their power play is pretty effective once they get set up and I think we prevented them from setting up."

He received some penalty-killing duty against the Penguins.

"I was struggling earlier in the year," Brown said. "Obviously PK is all about work and that sort of thing. I'm glad I'm back on it. I've just got to continue to work at it because it can make a big difference from a team standpoint but also from an individual standpoint. It keeps you in the game just with the rhythm of how things can go."

No-goal call

The league's Situation Room blog provided the details behind the no-goal call at 9:41 of the third period in the Kings-Penguins game:

"…The referee informed the Situation Room that after a huddle, the officials' group decision was that Pittsburgh's Brandon Sutter pushed Los Angeles goaltender Martin Jones' pad and the puck into the net, impeding Jones' ability to play his position.

"According to Rule 78.5 (ix), 'Apparent goals shall be disallowed by the Referee when a goaltender has been pushed into the net together with the puck after making a save.' This is not a reviewable play; therefore the referee's call on the ice stands — no penalty and no goal Pittsburgh."

KINGS VS. WINNIPEG

When: 7.

On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 1150.

Etc.: This will be the first time the Jets have played at Staples Center since the franchise moved from Atlanta to Winnipeg for the 2011-12 season, and it will be the last arena they've visited since making the move. … Former Kings defenseman Keaton Ellerby has two goals and six points in 50 games with the Jets and is a plus-five.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

helene.elliott@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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SportsLos Angeles KingsDustin Brown (ice hockey)Pittsburgh PenguinsWinnipeg JetsBrandon SutterStaples Center
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