Two and a half years since scoring a goal in the NHL.
So it’s little wonder that Kings forward Devin Setoguchi couldn’t remember the last time he scored. It was March 1, 2014, at Nashville when Setoguchi played for the Winnipeg Jets.
On Saturday, Setoguchi didn’t even have to wait long between his first and second goals with the Kings. His two goals, one in the first and another in the second, sparked the Kings to a 5-0 victory against the Calgary Flames on Saturday night at Staples Center, and the five goals were a season high.
It was a benchmark night, also, for Kings goalie Peter Budaj, who faced 24 shots and recorded his 12th career shutout. It was his first shutout since Oct. 28, 2013, when he was with Montreal. Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said that the first period for the Kings was “a textbook period.” Also scoring for the Kings was Jeff Carter (third of the season), Kyle Clifford (first) and Trevor Lewis (second).
Budaj had to go through long stretches with little action, which, in some ways, can be even more of a mental challenge.
“There are no easy shutouts,” Budaj said. “It was a great game by our guys. We played a hard game, a good defensive game.”
The odds of Setoguchi and Budaj leading the Kings to their first regulation victory of the season?
Long ones indeed.
Setoguchi came to Kings training camp on a tryout, hoping to revive a once-promising career. He has been sober for more than a year and a half after checking into a rehabilitation clinic in Malibu, and the Kings decided it was worth taking a chance on him and signed him to a two-way, one-year contract on Oct. 11.
“It’s not easy,” Setoguchi said after the game. “You take a two-year hiatus and you come back — it’s tough to play with confidence. Getting a couple tonight definitely helps. It helps remind you of some of the plays you’ve had in the past.
“Sometimes things don’t show up on the scoreboard. A lot of people watch, a lot of people tweet and they say things and it is what it is. Sometimes you do things away from the puck that a lot of people don’t see. When you do those, it creates chances for other people or chances for yourself. I feel like our line got rewarded for that tonight.”
Setoguchi was clear that this was another step, one to be relished but put aside when the Kings resumed practice on Monday before their four-game trip to Canada.
“I got rewarded for something I’ve worked toward the last couple of years,” he said. “But now it’s over. I enjoyed tonight. It’s nice to score two goals. The two goals I’ve scored are done.”