Reign game breakdown
For just the second time all season the Reign have lost three games in a row after dropping a 2-0 decision on Saturday night in Stockton. The Pacific Division-leading Reign (28-13-3-1) fell to the division’s last place team in the Heat (19-19-1-2) for the second time in a row. Both Heat goals occurred in the first period with Mason Raymond scoring at 7:41 and assisting on Drew Shore’s goal a little over four minutes later. The game the started to open up as Ontario had a 8-7 shot advantage in the middle frame, but were then forced to kill three penalties early in the third, which did not help their comeback case. After failing to score on two power play tries late in the third, Stockton wrapped things up on an empty-net goal by Blair Riley. Ontario was held scoreless for fourth time this season as Stockton’s Kevin Poulin made 36 saves. Michael Houser suffered his third straight loss filling in for Peter Budaj, who’s up with the Kings, making 16 stops. The Reign survived a scare when Nic Dowd left the game with 5:45 left in the first period after a hit by Garnet Hathaway along the far boards. Dowd missed the rest of the period before returning the ice at the start of the second.
–Mason Raymond – Raymond was up in the NHL with the Flames but was placed on and cleared waivers early in February and was playing in his fourth game with the Heat. His NHL-level talent showed as he made a move around Adrian Kempe in the high slot and fired a shot past Houser to open the scoring. He then set up Shore’s tally, also from the slot, to give Stockton a 2-0 lead. Raymond now has two goals and three assists in his four games with the AHL affiliate.
–Kevin Poulin – The Heat goalie, donning new red pads according to the team’s broadcast, earned his second shutout of the season in style, stopping 36 shots. After mishandling the puck, the 6-foot-2 netminder nearly gave up a wraparound try to Kris Newbury in the third period but was lights out late with the Reign putting together a flurry of chances. Poulin was up to the test as he turned aside 11 shots in the third, a period in which his team mustered just three shots on Houser. Poulin improved to 7-3-2-0.
–Drew Shore – The older brother of Kings forward Nick Shore got open in the slot and Raymond from the far boards found him for a one-timer past Houser at 11:56 of the first. It was a power play goal for the Heat, who took advantage of a hooking call on Derek Forbort.
Dowd was handed an unsportsmanlike minor after time expired in the second period which kicked off the Reign having to kill for 6 minutes of the first 10:59 of the third period after being called for two additional minors. With their lone two power play chances falling late in the game, the Reign couldn’t convert and were outmatched by Poulin and the game was iced on Riley’s empty-netter.
–42.3 – Shots on goal averaged by the Reign in three-game losing stretch, scoring four times on 127 shots.
This and that off-ice
The Kings placed forward Marian Gaborik on injured reserve on Saturday afternoon but did not announce a corresponding move in bringing up a player from the Reign. According to LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen, that may relate to the parent club’s goaltending situation. … Joel Lowry was scratched for a second straight game in favor of Valentin Zykov. … The Heat were without All-Star forward Derek Grant, who suffered a broken jaw in practice earlier in the week.
The Reign and Heat will meet again on Wednesday in a 7 p.m. tilt in Ontario.