Never mind the McFlurry Minute. All anybody could talk about was the McDavid Minute.
That would be Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid and his replay-worthy sequence that was tastier than any Kings promotional giveaway reserved for the second period. Dazed after a collision with a teammate, McDavid collected himself, went down the ice one-on- one with Drew Doughty and beat Darcy Kuemper with a shot between the pads.
Not even Kuemper could contain the likes of McDavid and Leon Draisaitl all game Wednesday. His shutout streak ended at more than 193 minutes, the second-longest run in Kings history, but the Kings endured one of their weaker stretches for a 5-2 victory at Staples Center.
Paul LaDue’s go-ahead power-play goal with 5 minutes 27 seconds remaining gave the Kings five victories in seven games before they leave for a season-long seven-game trip. LaDue ripped a shot from the right side with Tanner Pearson blocking goalie Cam Talbot’s view. It was LaDue’s second goal of his career.
“It felt unbelievable to get that goal and get a win,” LaDue said. “It’s huge motivation going into this road trip. That was an emotional win, and that’s great for the guys.”
It restored order for the Kings, who had the momentum from Kuemper’s two consecutive shutouts but were no-shows in a second period that resulted in a squandered 2-0 lead on goals by Kyle Clifford and Adrian Kempe. Kuemper still made crucial saves, including a leg stop on Draisaitl. He could talk with ease about McDavid’s strike.
“He kind of made me look pretty silly there,” Kuemper said. “I might have been cheating there, high glove, and he made a good shot five-hole and made me look silly.”
While it was an easy decision to start Kuemper again, the Kings scratched Marian Gaborik and Nick Shore for the second game in a row in putting out their bottom-six forward unit.
“We get paid to make those decisions, and there’s 14 guys up front right now that are available to play and I think it’s our job, not to make easy decisions but just to make decisions based on makeup of your team, performance, all that stuff,” coach John Stevens said before the game. “We don’t always make the right decision, but we think about it. We’re going to need help from everybody.”
A depth line gave the Kings a 1-0 lead only 70 seconds into the game, on Clifford’s second goal this season. Trevor Lewis won a faceoff directly to him and Clifford’s shot went in short side on Talbot.
Kempe extended it to 2-0 with another goal early in the period. His forecheck forced Oscar Klefbom into a turnover that Doughty grabbed and fed back to Kempe for a wrist shot that was his 16th goal of the season.
The Kings descended into a series of penalties and were outshot 13-1 in the first few minutes of the second period. Kuemper’s streak ended on a power-play goal after he couldn’t control a puck rimmed behind the net. Edmonton worked it out to Draisaitl, who converted from the left side.
Jonathan Quick had a shutout streak of 202:11 in October 2011.
Doughty joined Rob Blake as the only Kings defensemen to reach 300 assists and 400 points.