The LA Kings extended their point streak to eight games with a 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night at Crypto.com Arena.
The Kings got a multi-point night from forward Carl Grundstrom (1-1-2), while defenseman Drew Doughty and forwards Viktor Arvidsson and Anze Kopitar both scored in the win. Goalkeeper Pheonix Copley made 29 saves on 30 shots to earn his 21st win of the season.
After an initial period in which neither side made any breakthroughs, the Kings jumped out to a 4–0 lead in the middle stanza alone, their second consecutive four-goal game in the second period.
The Kings scored twice in less than three minutes to break open a scoreless game. First, Doughty ran his man on point, danced his way to the lock, and finally buried his own rebound on a stellar individual effort for his second goal in as many games. Just under three minutes later, Kopitar made it 2-0 when he came at the end of a tricky pass between striker Quinton Byfield’s legs for his 26th goal of the season.
A 72-second span doubled the Kings’ advantage to four goals, the margin at the second break.
The second line combined with a tic-tac-toe passing game to extend the lead to three goals, as Arvidsson buried a one-timer on a cross-slot feed from striker Trevor Moore for his 19th goal of the season season. Grundstrom made it 4–0 just over a minute later, after a superb individual effort from his own side from below the goal line and down the boards, followed by a shot from above from the right circle for his eighth goal. of the season.
Columbus buried the lone goal of the third period less than five minutes into the final frame to take us to the final score of 4-1. After a hard bounce off the boards, the puck kicked on forward Kirill Marchenko’s stick and he beat Copley with a wrist shot from the top of the circles to break the shutout bid.
Hear from Doughty, Copley and head coach Todd McLellan after tonight’s win.
Dewy addresses the media in response to tonight’s W 🎙#GoKingsGo | @LAKings pic.twitter.com/hfDKZgkeli
— Bally Sport West (@BallySportWest) March 17, 2023
On what he feels is most responsible for 7-0-1 over the last eight games
I think we played good defense, good team defense. We kind of shut down teams, keep them out and frustrate them. I think that’s kind of the basis of how we win, frustrate teams, and then we get our looks and we have guys who can score. I think that’s been a big part, team defense.
With the team, keeping shots out makes his job easier in the net
I think it simplifies it a little bit for us. We know we have to make the first save and take care of the rebounds. Those guys do a good job of cleaning things up and keeping things out. It certainly simplifies our work.
At the comfort level of getting four targets of support in the second period
I will never complain about scoring like that. We had a lot of good looks in the first, it just didn’t go in and in the second they started to go in. I thought it was a pretty complete game for us and in the second we got rewarded.
On the team’s defensive play during the eight-game point streak
Well, going back to our numbers, I don’t even remember what they are, 2-2-2-2-1-2-1, something like that. It is difficult to keep teams on two goals against or less and we have been able to do that for a while. It means you’ve got great goalkeeping, the penalty kill is probably doing its job and four lines and three pairs of defenders are determined to get things right. I look at the goal we conceded tonight, we did everything we wanted or needed to do and it went from the referee’s foot, into the slot and they scored. Those will be built into games or series and you have to be able to overcome them, but just a full commitment to doing what we do.
About closing the season slate against the Eastern Conference and fighting to the finish
As for the east, we’re done and the best part is we don’t have to travel that way, that can be taxing. The race to the finish is just the next race for us, tomorrow’s training. We don’t have to worry about Vancouver until we get there, but tomorrow’s training will be important. Whether we skate a lot or just watch some stuff on the video and then quickly clean up the legs, I don’t know what we’re going to do yet, but one day at a time.
On Drew Doughty’s goal, but also on his defensive play to avoid a 2-on-1 early
Maybe more important. I think perhaps the most important two minutes were the first two minutes where you start the game with the penalty after 15 seconds. Drew, yes, he had a nice goal and he jumped into striker today and those were really good things for him, we’re happy for him, but he consistently breaks those moments and he was there for a lot of those penalties. It was probably the most important two minutes of the game for us, allowing us to get our feet under us and keep going.
Whether adjustments were made tonight between the first and second period
I don’t know if there is a big adjustment from the first to the second. Tarasov, their goaltender, made some good saves in the first period. If some of them entered, we probably wouldn’t answer this question. We didn’t have to adjust much, but we had to focus and stick to a game plan. It paid off in the second and then we controlled our way to a win in the third.
About Trevor Moore looking more like himself as he returned from injury for the second time
Yes, I think during this phase he looks more like he did earlier this year and last year than he did during the first. The goal he scored last must have been a relief, we’ve already talked about that, but his energy matches that line now. It didn’t match the first time back, but it doesn’t match now.
– Carl Grundstrom (1-1-2) recorded his sixth career multi-point game and second of the season (2-0-2 on Oct. 31 at STL). With his sixth assist, Grundstrom tied his record for assists in a single season in 2021/22 (9-6-15).
– Drew Doughty scored his fifth goal of the season and his second in as many games. It is the first time this season that Doughty has scored goals in consecutive games.
– Anze Kopitar scored his 26th goal of the year and the 20th of his career against Columbus. Of active NHL skaters, only Patrick Kane (24) and Alex Ovechkin (22) have scored more goals against the Blue Jackets than Kopitar. Kopitar now has five points (1-4-5) over his last four games.
– Viktor Arvidsson (1-0-1) registered his 19th goal of the campaign, one shy of matching his tally from last season.
– Phillip Danault (0-1-1) recorded his 30th assist of the season to become the fourth Kings skater this season to reach 30 assists (Kevin Fiala – 46; Drew Doughty – 38; Anze Kopitar – 37).
– Rasmus Kupari (0-1-1) recorded his ninth assist of the season, setting a new career high. Kupari now sits one point away from tying his single-season career high in points (13) in 2021-22.
– With another assist tonight, Quinton Byfield has now scored a point in seven of his last eight games (1-6-7).
– Alex Edler skated in his 1,023rd career NHL games, surpassing Fredrik Olausson (1,022) for the only possession of fifth place on the list of games played among Swedish-born defensemen in NHL history.
– The Kings scored four goals in the second period in back-to-back games (March 14 vs. NYI) for the fourth time in franchise history: (January 2, 1991 vs. EDM and January 4, 1992 vs. PHI ; December 6, 1986 vs CHI and December 9, 1986 on NYI, February 5, 1985 vs NYR and February 7, 1985 on PHI).
– The win marked the Kings’ 40th win of the season, tying the 1990–91 Kings as the third-fastest team to reach 40 wins in a single season in franchise history (69 GP).
The Kings practice tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the Toyota Sports Performance Center.