Waking up with the Kings: January 10
-Mired in a scoring slump, the Los Angeles Kings faced the NHL’s next best defensive club and put a “4” on the scoreboard without the aid of an empty-netter. In a game that saw both teams produce roughly the same amount of zone entries, the Kings generated a great deal of shots from their entries, partly due to an excessive amount of offensive zone time. Los Angeles’ chances were also of much higher quality than Boston’s, due partly to a transition game that allowed them to enter the zone with speed and space and score a pair of goals off rushes. It was a comprehensive win, one of the more impressive victories to date in 2013-14. The Kings won the special teams battle, the goaltending battle, the battle between the top players, the discipline battle, and had Boston’s organist been in attendance, Dieter Ruehle probably would have won that battle as well.
-Discipline and special teams. The Kings drew twice as many power plays as the Bruins by outworking the visitors and, as mentioned, possessing the puck by what appeared to be a two-to-one margin for much of the game. The final Boston power play with under five minutes to play, during which Los Angeles was leading 4-1, was kept mostly academic by virtue of Jonathan Quick’s sprawling-yet-contained glove save on Brad Marchand after the forward had slipped past the Kings’ defense to receive a pass as the Bruins looked to capitalize on a neutral zone turnover. Los Angeles generated a huge kill early in the third period and protected a two-goal lead when Slava Voynov was sent off for hooking; the Kings limited the Bruins to a pair of David Krejci perimeter wrist shots and drew an interference penalty on Carl Soderberg to complete the kill. Apart from those two shots – neither of which came from within 40 feet – the Bruins generated only one power play shot on goal.
-It’s not necessarily semi-consistent secondary scoring yet, though it’s a step in the right direction. Alec Martinez’s second period goal was the first goal by an L.A. skater who wasn’t playing on the team’s top two lines since Tyler Toffoli scored in the second period of the Kings’ 4-1 win over the Sharks on December 19. Not coincidentally, that was also the last game in which Los Angeles scored four times.
-Even though the wins haven’t been as easy to come by over the last two weeks, Jeff Carter is operating at a level of play that was seen through much of the 2012-13 season and has strung together his best performances since returning from the foot injury that sidelined him for much of November. He has five multi-point efforts and 16 total points (9-7=16) in his last 14 games, and with 23 shots on goal over the last three games has been responsible for Los Angeles’ offensive rhythm, which has averaged 41.3 shots through the first three games of this homestand. He outshot the Bruins 6-5 in the first period last night and registered 10 total shots on goal, his highest tally in a Kings uniform.