The second-to-last regular season game at home was a tense, edgy one for the Kings. It was one-sided but remained a one-goal game until Marian Gaborik put the Kings up by two with less than two minutes remaining. A few more takeaways from the Kings' 3-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche before the team embarks on a trip to Western Canada for three games:
Establishing control, maintaining it
Beyond the fact that the shots on goal were quite one-sided -- more on that later -- the Kings played a skilled possession game throughout their lineup.
Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr, who had two assists, talked about the execution of the game plan against the Avalanche.
“You want to try to push them out of the game is what we talked about it beforehand,” he said. “For us, doing a solid job in every area and not giving them a lot of offensive opportunity on the power play.
“I think that’s really important. We were able to control the game for long stretches, which was also important too, because that disheartens the players on the opposition. I think maybe you saw a little bit of that tonight.”
Dubious records 101
Shots on goal.
Yes, the Kings thoroughly dominated in that department, 26-10. There were many long yawning stretches in which Colorado did not record a shot on a goal.
They didn’t hit the 10-shot mark until defenseman Zach Redmond had a long-ranger with about 45 seconds remaining. Before that, the Avalanche’s last shot was at 1:44 into the third period.
The Kings tied a team record for shots allowed (10) that the Kings set on Jan. 11, 1994, against the San Jose Sharks.
But Colorado Coach Patrick Roy took note of Gabriel Landeskog’s wrist shot, which was dropped by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, before the Avalanche scored in the second period.
“It’s kind of funny because I was talking to the coaches and Landeskog took a shot on net, the goalie made the save, and then [Ryan] O’Reilly took a rebound and scored,” Roy said in post-game comments posted on the Kings’ website. “You look at the stat sheet, Landeskog has no shots on net tonight.
“I guess every rink has their own way to count the number of shots.”
Game 7 mentality down the stretch
More talk about must-win hockey and urgency. Those have been the catchphrases for the last month in the tight Western Conference playoff race.
“We’ve been playing that way for quite a while,” Regehr said, “It’s just the situation we’re in. Teams all around us continue to play well.”
Their chief rivals have not faltered much. Winnipeg beat Vancouver while Calgary shut out Edmonton on Saturday night. In the Pacific Division standings, the Kings trail the second-place Canucks by three points and the third-place Flames by a point.
While the Canucks’ loss helped the Kings make up ground on Vancouver, it enabled Winnipeg to stay even with Los Angeles for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Kings are ahead of the Jets, via the first tiebreaker.
The first of the Kings’ three road games in the next four days will be at Vancouver on Monday.
“We’ve had a couple of really tight games with them,” Kings defenseman Martinez said. “They play really well in their own building. It’s a revved-up, high-energy environment.”
Said Kings center Anze Kopitar: “We know them. They know us. It’ll be a big game for them and us. It’ll be a good one for sure.”