The Kings went into the Olympic break on a high note, shutting out key Western Conference opponent Colorado at home. Jack Johnson had a dominant performance despite having travelled to Vancouver for the opening ceremonies, then back to LA for the tilt against the Avs.
Johnson had 2 assists and was a plus-2 on the night. He wasn't the only King with a strong performance as Rich Clune, playing in only his 2nd NHL game, notched 2 assists and was a plus-2 as well. Clune also lived up to his “agitator” tag, going toe to toe with Cody McLeod less than 3 minutes into the game.
Rob Scuderi averted a major crisis when the Kings killed off a 5 minute boarding major he accrued by shoving Chris Durno into the boards. Fresh out of the box Scuderi shot the puck from the point, leading to a tip in by Brad Richardson. Durno would later take a boarding penalty of his own which the Kings would convert on to go up 2-0.
Jonathan Quick would notch his 35th win of the season, tying Mario Lessard's franchise record win mark. Quick also collected his 2nd shutout of the season. Quick leads the league in wins with one more 'W' than both Martin Brodeur and Evgeni Nabokov.
The win gave the Kings 78 points, good enough for 5th place in the West. The Kings are 2 points ahead of Colorado, whom they face 3 more times. They trail the Coyotes for 4th place by one 1 point, yet the Kings have 2 games at hand. For the sake of comparison, The Kings would be in 2nd place were they in the Eastern Conference, 1 point ahead of New Jersey's 77 points. St. Louis, 12th place in the West, would be in 8th were they a member of the Eastern Conference.
Kings fans will have a vested interest in the Winter Games with 5 Kings playing for their respective countries. Their presence is especially noticeable on team U.S.A. with 3 members of the squad, more than any other NHL team. Also representing the Kings is Michal Handzus for the Czech Republic and Drew Doughty, the youngest member of the star studded team Canada.
The Kings return to action on March 2nd in Dallas. Go Kings!
About the Author
Written by Eric Cooney
Eric Cooney was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina, and lives in Los Angeles, CA. He shares his thoughts on the NHL as one man who is a northerner, southerner, east coaster, and west coaster. Follow him on Twitter @EricCooney