Jonathan Quick lifts Kings to shootout win with sharp effort
Kings Coach Terry Murray finds a good time in the strangest moments.
The Kings sweated through a hand-wringer in regulation, then in overtime. They fell behind in the shootout, before getting goals from Jarret Stoll and Anze Kopitar to squeeze out a 2-1 victory over Calgary on Monday.
“It was intense,” Murray said. “It was a fun game to play and a fun game to coach.”
Of course, at this point in the season, Murray’s criteria for a good time are simple: two points.
“That was the best part of it,” Murray said.
In other words, this was just another day in the Western Conference playoff race, where the situation sometimes changes from line shift to line shift.
The Kings went from losing their fifth consecutive game at Staples Center to spending at least a day in fifth place after Stoll, Kopitar and goaltender Jonathan Quick gave them an 8-2 record in shootouts this season.
“Every point we get — one point, two points — helps build our resume to get to the playoffs,” said Quick, who had 27 saves in regulation and overtime and two during the shootout.
The victory nudged the Kings two points ahead of Chicago in the conference standings, but it came with a price. The Kings lost forward Justin Williams, who left the game because of what was called an “upper-body injury.” It didn’t sound like a hangnail.
Said Murray: “Williams is not OK.”
That took a little giddiness away from getting a home victory.
The Kings could be putting the finishing touches on a Pacific Division title, maybe even claiming the top spot in the conference, if Staples Center weren’t home sweat home.
Their woes at home have run from heartbreak — a 2-1 overtime loss to the Ducks on Saturday — to heartless — a 4-0 debacle against St. Louis on Thursday.
The Kings are 8-10-2 at home since Dec. 30. Kopitar picked out the silver lining, noting the Kings’ 11-3-3 record in their last 17 road games.
“Come the playoffs, we will be pretty confident that we can win games on the road,” Kopitar said. But he added, “We have to improve our record at home.”
The Kings worked long and hard to improve it Monday.
They killed six power plays, running their streak to 35 in a row since giving up a power-play goal in the second period against the Detroit Red Wings on Feb. 28. Quick was a big part of that effort Monday, with 10 saves with Calgary on the power play.
That work appeared to pay off when Stoll chased down a rebound and flipped it into the net for a 1-0 lead 14 minutes into the third period. The advantage lasted only a minute before Steve Staios’ two-line pass sent Olli Jokinen on a breakaway for the tying goal.
Then the fun began.
“There are so many races, so many games that are meaningful every night, you can almost go crazy watching them all and keeping track of the standings at the end of the night,” Murray said.
And the keep-your-sanity solution is?
“We’ve just got to win our games,” Murray said. “We have no control over what happens in other games.”
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