Kings hit all the right notes in 5-2 defeat of Penguins
The house dance music normally played during Kings warmups took a decidedly cooler turn Saturday.
Snoop Dogg made a guest-DJ appearance and, judging by the result, it wouldn’t be surprising if the rapper’s music became a part of the Kings’ pregame routines. Jeff Carter fell into the groove and dropped a goal and two assists on the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 5-2 win at Staples Center.
Asked if Snoop Dogg brought them good mojo, Carter said, “Looked like it.”
It was nothing but a winning combination of Carter and scores by Anze Kopitar, Alex Iafallo and Brendan Leipsic to help get the taste of Thursday’s embarrassing loss out of their mouths.
“Two totally different efforts, I feel like,” Carter said. “We did what we needed to do to win tonight. We played hard. We got some big saves from [Jonathan Quick]. We made it hard on their top guys.”
Snoop Dogg’s seven-song set list began with his single “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” and he made the ceremonial puck-drop with a move that he called by the same title. Carter took the cue with the Kings’ first goal, a ripped slap shot past goalie Casey DeSmith.
“Carts was really good,” said Kopitar, who scored twice. “I thought he was skating really well right off the start. It was really nice to see, obviously, getting him on the scoresheet with goals and assists. It’s always nice when you get scoring throughout the lineup.”
Quick earned his 301st win to tie his boyhood idol Mike Richter for fourth-most among American goalies. He helped stave off Pittsburgh in the third period when the Penguins got re-energized by Jake Guentzel’s second goal, on the power play.
“Obviously to get here means I’ve been lucky enough to play with some good players and been on some really good hockey teams,” Quick said. “It means a lot. It’s special. I’ve always said it: Goalies are dependent on teammates. We get a lot of credit sometimes when it’s the guys who are working in front of us. But, at the end of the day, it is special.”
Saturday represented the return of former Kings winger Tanner Pearson, a member of the Kings’ 2014 Cup team who stood up on Pittsburgh’s bench and said “thank you” to the crowd when he was recognized with a video tribute in the first period.
Pearson formed a signature line with Carter and Tyler Toffoli during the Kings’ fruitful playoff runs, and it was Carter who put some of that old magic on display.
Carter finished a three-point game with an assist on Kopitar’s short-handed strike late in the second period to put the Kings ahead 3-1. Kopitar, on a two-on-one with Carter, was stopped on a backhand by DeSmith but grabbed the rebound and fired the puck high into the net.
On the Kings’ second goal, Carter cleverly banked the puck in off Iafallo. Jake Muzzin tied up Phil Kessel at the end boards to free up the puck.
Leipsic scored his first goal since Dec.6. He redirected Ilya Kovalchuk’s touch pass off Muzzin’s shot 49 seconds into the third period to extend the lead to 4-1.
Guentzel scored short-handed in the first period on a two-on-one with Sidney Crosby. His shot was initially stopped but Guentzel backhanded in the loose puck.
“We gave up a short-handed goal, which is tough,” Carter said. “But I thought right after, everybody just kind of forgot about it, if you will. But we just went back to work. Lately, when we get scored on, we’ve been kind of sitting back. We went back to work.”
Go beyond the scoreboard
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