Anze Kopitar wasn’t aware that teammate Jonathan Quick reached a milestone too until the trainers told him after the horn sounded.
Kopitar made his way back on the ice to retrieve the puck, a gesture often reserved for first goals or wins. But it was fitting for two of the Kings’ franchise players on a night of symbolic symmetry: Quick got his 300th career win and Kopitar his 300th goal in a 4-0 win against the Edmonton Oilers at Staples Center.
The two have been through two Stanley Cup championships together and the struggles of this season. Quick has never publicly cared for personal achievements but, coupled with Kopitar’s, referred to their journeys Saturday.
“We’ve obviously been through a lot,” Quick said. “Ups and downs.”
Quick, in his 575th game, needed just 16 saves to become the second fastest American-born goalie to reach the 300-win mark. Ryan Miller accomplished it in 566 games.
Quick was largely helpless against the Tampa Bay Lightning’s power play in a 6-2 loss Thursday but he faced only 10 shots in the first two periods, although, one of them was a reach-back save on Connor McDavid’s try in the second period.
“It’s great for Quickie,” Kopitar said. “He’s, in my mind, the best goalie in the world. It’s very comforting to have him back there and a privilege to play in front of him.”
Kopitar became the fifth Kings player to score 300 goals, on a pretty snap shot in the third period for his 10th goal this season, a mark he reached in his 23rd game last season.
“I was hoping it was going to come a little earlier than that,” Kopitar said. “But hey, it’s here. I’m pretty proud of that.”
Everything else fell into place as the Kings cleansed their palate from the Tampa Bay loss with goals by Kyle Clifford, Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter in the opening 14 minutes. Carter’s wrist shot to the upper left corner of the net made it 3-0 on eight shots and prompted Edmonton to remove goalie Mikko Koskinen for Cam Talbot. Toffoli put a forehand past Koskinen for his second goal since Nov. 17.
Drew Doughty kept the puck in the zone, and he also sprung Clifford down the right wing before Clifford slipped a shot through Koskinen.
Carter made an open-ice hit on McDavid to trigger brief tempers, but that was the most resistance the Kings faced all night, a ’90s-themed night in which photos of the Kings players as adolescents were shown on the video board. An amusing one of Kopitar in a Speedo swimsuit prompted the funniest line of the night.
Said Kopitar, “It was probably the last time I had a six pack.”
Matt Luff was scratched for the first time in 25 games. Luff is the team’s third-leading goal scorer but has received scant playing time late in games recently after an initial scoring flurry upon his last recall.
“It looks like I’m playing a little bit without the confidence I had,” Luff said. “When I came up, I was getting those looks and the goals. But the thing for me was just moving my feet, and if I’m not playing a lot of minutes and getting under 10 [minutes a game], I think I need to be a good [fourth] line player defensively.”