A few more takeaways from their first win in three games, and their 13th win in 34 road games.
Stopped the momentum from slipping away
They’ve been starting well and having problems finishing the job. Unlike Saturday’s Vancouver game -- in which the tide seemed to turn, almost imperceptibly -- the Kings pulled it together after playing a ragged second period.
“We were protecting the puck well while we were playing in their zone," said Kings center Anze Kopitar, who scored once and added two assists. “And we were creating chances. I thought we’re doing all the right things that we said just before that period and then we drifted away, just a tad in the second period. And did it [played well] again in the third period, which is important.”
The Kings stopped the slippage in the Western Conference playoff standings and set the bar for the rest of the night.
Unfortunately, their chief rivals managed to clear the obstacles and the Kings did not pick up any ground. Hours after the Kings game was over, Calgary beat Colorado, 3-2, and Winnipeg defeated Edmonton, 4-1.
In the Pacific Division, the Kings trail third-place Calgary by two points and are four points behind Winnipeg in the wild-card race. On Tuesday, the Jets are at Vancouver. The Canucks are second in the Pacific Division.
If Kings Coach Darryl Sutter had extensive insights about the performances of defenseman Alec Martinez and center Mike Richards, who both returned after long absences, he wasn’t inclined to share them in an expansive fashion.
“It’s good to have him back,” Sutter said of Martinez. “Veterans are always good to have back, mobile guys…They were both solid and neither one had played in a while.”
Martinez, paired with veteran Matt Greene, settled in nicely and logged 16-plus minutes of ice time and had three shots on goal. He said he felt he could have been quicker on a couple of reads but his conditioning was not an issue. Richards played 11-plus minutes, was a minus-one and won five of 12 faceoffs.
It was the first game back for Martinez since he suffered a head injury against Tampa Bay on Feb. 7. His response to being back in the lineup was heartfelt.
“Oh, being out sucks,” Martinez said. “There’s no way around it. Especially with that particular injury. You don’t really come around much and it’s pretty easy to start to feel you’re not a part of things.”