After completing a five-game winning streak, the Kings were shut down in Vancouver on March 2. It wasn’t pretty for Kings fans to watch. The Kings seemed to be asleep on their feet for most of the game, losing 5-2 to their rivals.
Something roused them, though, and they redeemed themselves a couple days later with the Nashville Predators. Jeff Carter scored the only goal of the first period. The second 20 minutes would show no goals for either side, and very few shots. But the third period saw two more goals in a row by Carter. It was Free Hat Night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Hats were in the air the moment Carter’s shot and third goal of the night made it in the net. (Cold heads are now being warmed by the many brand new Kings hats that were surely donated to charity.)
Mike Richards and new father Dwight King would score two more points for L.A. Nashville’s Gabriel Bourque scored the Predators only goal of the night, effectively ruining what would have been Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier’s first shutout of the season.
The Kings went on to play the Blues the next night. The first goal went to St. Louis when a puck bounced off of Kings Slava Voynov’s skate. Pucks bounced off him more than once during last year’s playoffs, but each time he had the bad luck of “scoring” for the other team, the Kings won.
Rookie Jake Muzzin scored a tie-breaker in the first period, but the Kings found themselves trailing 4-1 in the second period. Starting goalie, Bernier, playing the second of back-to-back games, was pulled in favor of Jonathan Quick after the Stars scored their third goal. Voynov redeemed himself by helping Los Angeles launch their comeback, and they were able to start the third period with a two-goal deficit. Early into the last period, Richards had a shot that made it 4-3. Within a minute, Muzzin managed to even things up for the second time of the night. Goals by Carter and Kopitar sealed the win for the Kings.
From now on, the month of March will be tough for L.A. They play every other night, other than the next couple of Mondays and Tuesdays, when they will play back-to-back. This schedule proved to be too much for them last night.
In their third home game in a row, they hosted the Dallas Stars. Jaromir Jagr opened the scoring by getting the puck through the backdoor on a power play. Kings Trevor Lewis quickly answered with a goal of his own. The game was tied until Carter got a wrist shot in to give the Kings the lead with less than five minutes remaining in the second period. That would be his 12th goal in as many games and 16th of the season.
Unfortunately for them, they could not keep that lead, and the second period rounded out with a backhanded goal by Stars Cody Eakin, another power play move for Dallas. Despite spending plenty of time in front of the net and taking shots, the Kings were stopped every time, and the Stars scored three more unanswered goals in the final period, including an empty netter.
The Kings host the Calgary Flames on Saturday. They don’t have any traveling to do, so they can hopefully spend some time resting up.
Anguished over the Kings loss? Let’s end on a positive note. Watch and rewatch this video of Carter’s hat trick from Monday’s game.