Throughout the remainder of the month, LAKI will be reviewing the top 10 moments of the Los Angeles Kings season as a recurring feature entitled “I Was There.”
KingsCast recently finished a similar endeavor, complete with screen grabs, video highlights and commentary. Alex Kinkopf’s #TopTen list is recommended as a great account of the 2012-13 season.
I Was There #6: Slava’s overtime game-winner
Returning to St. Louis with momentum after having won Games 3 and 4 in Los Angeles, the Kings never trailed in their top road effort of the postseason and exited the Scottrade Center with a pivotal overtime win that allowed them to return home with the chance to clinch the series. (Spoiler alert: they did.)
After weathering a scoreless first period, Jeff Carter struck early in the second on a simple play in which he won a faceoff cleanly to Drew Doughty and stuffed the rebound of Doughty’s shot past Brian Elliott for a 1-0 lead. Though Alex Steen tied the game six and a half minutes later, Carter gave the Kings the lead early in the third period on a slick power play passing sequence as he one-timed a no-look Anze Kopitar feed past Elliott, who didn’t have much of a chance on the shot. There was a beautiful feed by Mike Richards to thread the needle in getting Kopitar the puck, and some solid puck advancement by Jake Muzzin to weather St. Louis pressure in his own half of the ice.
With under 45 seconds remaining, Alex Pietrangelo used a wristshot from the blue line to beat a screened Jonathan Quick with Elliott pulled to send the game into overtime – a period Los Angeles out-shot St. Louis 7-4.
A team-wide effort allowed Voynov to bury the game-winner. The Blues were on the attack shortly before the game was decided; Steen found Jaden Schwartz a fraction of a step to the left of Voynov on a two-on-two rush into the Kings’ zone. Had Schwartz not had to play the puck out of his skates and onto his stick blade off the pass, he would have been in a good position to fire off a harder shot – though an aggressive Quick appeared to be in good position to stop the incoming chance.
Instead, the extra moment that Schwartz used to play the puck allowed Voynov to get his stick on Schwartz’s, which resulted in a chance that was deflected well wide of the net. Jake Muzzin then played the puck off the glass as Dustin Brown neutralized David Backes, who chipped at the puck and missed in his attempt to maintain offensive zone time. That left all three St. Louis forwards deep in L.A.’s zone as Justin Williams started a rush with Kopitar that was joined by Voynov on a three-on-two.
Schwartz, unfortunately for the Blues, wasn’t able to repay the favor on Voynov’s shot attempt.
Cue St. Louis organist.
Kings beat Blues on Slava Voynov’s weak shot in overtime
The Los Angeles Kings had every reason to be deflated.
Instead, they’re going home with a chance to wrap up their first-round series against the St. Louis Blues because they refused to let it a letdown linger.
Yes, let it a linger.
From the notes:
Cracknell was a healthy scratch in Game 4 in favor of rookie Vladimir Tarasenko, who made his playoff debut and was no factor.
Aesthetic beauty: High. Even though Voynov fooled Elliott with a contested shot that remained low, there’s something to be said about every player on the ice playing a significant role in one of the most important goals of the season.
Lasting impact: Very high. Along with Dustin Penner’s game-winner in Game 6, this will be a goal that fans will immediately recall when looking back on the St. Louis series. It also was a strong representation of Voynov’s postseason, as he disrupts a scoring chance at one end and less than ten seconds later scores the game-winner at the other end.