So much for the Nic of time. This turned into the Revenge of Drew.
A subplot of Saturday’s game was Nic Dowd playing against the Kings for the first time, and it became a major story line when Dowd scored 41 seconds into the third period to give the Vancouver Canucks the lead.
The script changed quickly from there.
Drew Doughty, embarrassed earlier when he got turned around on a goal by Nikolay Goldobin, took advantage of open ice and scored on his follow-up shot at 6:49 of the third period for the deciding goal in a 4-3 Kings win Saturday in front of 18,865 fans at Rogers Arena.
“I was pretty embarrassed,” Doughty said of the Goldobin play. “I don’t get dangled very often. It’s only the second time I can remember in my NHL career that I got dangled for a goal. I was pretty embarrassed and pretty [upset] at myself going into the third period, but I knew I was going to do everything in my power to try and help us win that game.”
It wasn’t a textbook win for the Kings but a strong response — on the road against a divisional rival — and just their second regulation win since Dec. 5. They have outscored teams 50-24 in the third period this season.
“We just don’t give up,” Doughty said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re down, if we’re up, we push forward.”
Goldobin executed a highlight move around Doughty and lifted a backhand to make the score 2-2 with 2:29 left in the second period. Vancouver got a goal from another unexpected source, defenseman Troy Stecher, but the Kings grabbed the game back twice — on goals by Tyler Toffoli and Marian Gaborik, and by Kyle Clifford to tie the score 3-3.
Toffoli said he had hoped that Doughty, a Norris Trophy winner, would come back with a big play.
“It’s always nice seeing [him] getting toe-dragged,” Toffoli said jokingly. “He was saying it too, when that stuff happens, he doesn’t let it faze him and he comes through with big plays.”
Kings coach John Stevens was happy that his team wasn’t flustered by Stecher’s and Dowd’s goals.
“There’s so many statistics out there than can affect the outcome of a hockey game, but I think this group has done a really good job of not letting an instance in the game dictate the outcome of a game,” Stevens said.
Stevens hugged Dowd outside the locker room after the game. Dowd spent eight-plus years with the organization and credited the franchise for his development as a seventh-round pick in 2009.
“I think, without those guys, and without getting my opportunity there, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today, and I wouldn’t be the two-way player that I like to call myself,” Dowd said before the game.
Gabriel Vilardi, the Kings’ first-round draft pick in June, is cleared to play, according to general manager Rob Blake. Vilardi underwent a months-long rehabilitation from a back strain and was recently returned to his junior team, the Windsor Spitfires.