Cal Petersen’s NHL career was born here, while a moment of silence was reserved for what was the Kings-Chicago Blackhawks’ dominance from earlier this decade.
Several storylines arrived full circle Friday, namely the journey of Petersen from Midwestern teenage goalie to his first win against Chicago, a 2-1 shootout win at United Center.
Here’s what we learned:
The Kings finally rewarded their goalie with a win. It is practically criminal how many quality Jack Campbell starts the Kings have wasted this season. In a season bursting at the seams with issues, goaltending isn’t one of them. First it was Campbell, now Petersen has grabbed the net with authority with a 34-save win in his NHL debut as a starter.
Jake Muzzin exhaled when asked about getting a win for their goalie. He’ll take any win, especially to end a three-game losing streak.
“We’re not out of the hole yet, but it’s nice to get a win and start this road trip off on the right foot,” Muzzin said. “We’ve got to keep plugging away here.
The Carl Hagelin line looked good. As expected from a player in his first game with a new team, Hagelin was noticeable on a line with Adrian Kempe and Matt Luff. They combined for eight of the Kings’ 32 shots.
Hagelin helped the Kings kill three penalties in the second period. He slots in well because he plays the right side, while Luff is a natural right winger. Kempe looked active as well.
“It’s important for us to see our young guys playing well, and I thought our young guys were good tonight,” coach Willie Desjardins said.
Kopitar took a step forward. That seems like an odd statement for a Hart Trophy finalist, but Kopitar’s struggles have mirrored the Kings.
He sits on a five-game point-less streak and has four goals and six points in 17 games. Last season, Kopitar’s longest point-less streak was three games, and that happened once.
Kopitar did scored the game-winning goal in the shootout and perhaps that’s a jumping off point to rising from this quiet start. Desjardins frequently talks about needing the young players to step up, but the older players need to set the example as well.