The Kings took the long way to victory, but they eventually got there with some young and older players putting their hands on the steering wheel.
Sean Walker and Dustin Brown highlighted a 3-2 overtime win against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night for the Kings’ fifth win in six games before they officially hit the halfway point of the season Tuesday.
It was hard-earned and perhaps a touch of the old Kings’ way, eking out a close game with defense and goaltending. Their overtime magic helped, too.
Here’s what we learned:
Walker finally was rewarded
The rookie defenseman got his first goal in his 13th game; he’s fit in well when paired with Jake Muzzin. Walker has shown a flair for offense and putting the puck on net, and his wraparound score was out of a goal scorer’s playbook.
“As every game goes on, it’s in the back of your head,” Walker said. “You want to get your first one out of the way. It was nice over these last couple of games getting more chances, and finally one went in, and counted.”
Drew Doughty has said that Walker and Muzzin have arguably been their best defensive pair lately, and he noted that Walker was an undrafted free agent signing.
“He got one [goal] called off, so he got two first goals tonight,” Doughty said. “But he’s been playing well for us. He’s a great skater. He’s got good vision. Good passer. Good shot. He was a steal … sweet steal.”
Anze Kopitar met the challenge
The captain has probably had too many quiet games in the first half of the season, but there are nights like Monday where he flashes his MVP credentials.
He certainly rose to the occasion in a matchup with fellow Hart Trophy finalist Nathan MacKinnon. Kopitar had two assists and was denied his 300th career goal by Erik Johnson’s leg save late in the game.
Kopitar also provided key penalty killing in one of his most noticeable all-around games.
Possession counted a lot
The Kings haven’t dominated faceoffs like they usually do, but lately they’ve come through, and on Monday, they won the overtime faceoff and never let Colorado touch the puck.
That led to the Kings’ NHL-leading 37th overtime win since the three-on-three format was implemented in the 2015-16 season.