The LA Kings won a big game vs. the Colorado Avalanche at the Staples Center on February 13th 3-0 to gain 2 big points in the playoff race in the last game before the Olympic break. Brad Richardson scored the first goal off a tipped shot by defenseman Rob Scuderi before Anze Kopitar netted his 28th goal to give the Kings a two-goal lead. Oscar Moller scored on a wrist shot in the 3rd period to seal the game. The Kings had to overcome a 5-minute major penalty by Scuderi early in the game that set the tone for the night. LA forward Rich Clune had 2 assists in his second career NHL game and was the 3rd star.
Kings defenseman Jack Johnson had a very strong game collecting 2 assists and improving his plus/minus rating which is the worst on the team (minus 12 rating now). Johnson had a busy few days traveling up to Vancouver after Thursday night’s game to be a part of the opening ceremonies (the only NHL player to do so as he chartered his own plane with his family). When I talked to him about it, he mentioned this was a once in a lifetime event and the Kings management was kind to grant permission. He made it back but didn’t seem tired for this game while playing superbly. He was the second star of the game only because Jonathon Quick had a stellar performance for his second career shutout while tying the franchise record (35) for wins in a season. The Kings now have 78 points and are in 5th place in the Western Conference.
After the game, there was an inspirational Olympic Ceremony for all the players heading to the games next week. The USA’s first game is February 16th vs. Switzerland while they are a dark horse in the tournament. The favorites are Canada, Russia and Sweden. USA players from this game included Dustin Brown, Quick, Johnson and Avalanche forward Paul Stastny. Other Olympians included Drew Doughty for Canada, Michael Handzus and Peter Budaj of Slovakia, and Ruslan Salei of Belarus.
Next up is a March 2nd game vs. Dallas during the break. More info at www.kings.nhl.com