(Featured AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

What a way for Jeff Carter to celebrate his 1000th game than by scoring the game winning goal. Papa Carts earned his first star of the game and the Kings earned their 3rd win in a row. If youíve been following this season at all, thatís quite the accomplishment. Case and point: within the first minute theyíd iced the puck three times in rapid succession. I mean really how hard is it to actually play the puck? But maybe 30 seconds later, Vegas took a penalty, so who canít play hockey now? (I kid. Because the Kings didnít have the best power play. Or second period. But I digress.) Almost immediately after a not so special, but at least not abysmally awful power play, the Kings were saddled with a penalty kill that felt like it lasted 7 straight minutes. I donít think I saw the puck in the Vegas zone the entire time, puck clearing kill aside. They had out shot the Kings 8-2, and the Kings showed no signs of slowing them down. After Anze Kopitar was upended behind Quickís net, a post whistle scrum ended with only Matt Roy going to the box. I could scream about how unfair that was, except it gave us an Adrian Kempe breakaway, a stunning slip pass to Blake Lizotte and a shorthanded goal! A far cry from when every penalty kill meant a goal against. The Kings next goal was an actual power play goal – how wonderful to see their hard work paying off. Special teams had been a black hole for them, and it appears they may have finally figured them out. It was Doughtyís slapshot that did it, making it 2-0, with about 5 minutes remaining in the first. 15 seconds later, Sean Walker took a penalty, however, so perhaps discipline should be the next thing the Kings work on.

(photo : nhl.com)



The second period was where I started to get worried. Because actually the second period is what the Kings need to work on. Itís been years since theyíve played a decent one. It took 7:24, but Vegas finally converted one from their many chances. It was hard to blame any of the goals on Jonathan Quick really, as this was kicked in on a deflection, and even went under review. But alas the said review did not go the Kings way, and 2-1 looked much more dangerous than 2-0, considering the amount of traction the Knights were getting. The Kings had 15 giveaways, so they were hardly doing themselves any favors there. 1:44 later, however, they got the goal back and Nikolai Prokhorkin, (yeah ,my autocorrect is not a fan of that one, but I hope to type it in many, many more times), got his first NHL goal! Clifford, Luff and Martinez helped with a mad scramble by Knight’s goalie Malcolm Subban, but it was Prokhorkinís wrister that did it. That two goal cushion was back! Alas that wasnít to last either. (I did start this paragraph talking about how the Kings canít play a second period.) With 5:08 left, Quick was screened by our own guys and completely blindsided. 2:14 later William Karlsson, aided by Max Pacioretty added another to the scoreboard, and the Kings were looking very lucky to get out of this second period alive.

(photo : latimes.com)



Thankfully, the third period was much more even. There was no Kings surge, but they were holding their ground, which honestly, even when they were winning confidently, that was about all they were doing. But again, there were significant improvements from the start of the season and Quick was in fine form. He had good positioning and seemed to be going back to the basics. He still goes down too early sometimes for my liking, but his days of giving up easy goals the Jedi used to be able to make easily, seems to be over. At 12:42 Matt Royís blast from the point was *technically* tipped in by Carter, and given it was a special game for him, I didnít mind the credit for the game winning goal going to Carts, but make no mistake the play was all Roy. And finally, Iíve been waiting to see this from the Kings all season, the Kings didnít back off. Again there was no surge, but that was never going to happen in this game. They held on, kept making good plays in an attempt to grow the lead rather than settle and assume 1 goal was enough. It turned out to be that even with a pulled goalie for almost 2 minutes, the Kings barely let them stay in the zone, let alone get a shot off. Not only was this the Kings third win in a row, it was the Knights fifth loss in a row. Doesnít get much sweeter than that.

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