LOS ANGELES- In need of a signature win, the Los Angeles Kings got one in convincing fashion over a bitter division rival.
The Kings blanked the reigning Pacific Division champion San Jose Sharks 2-0 at Staples Center Monday night, mere months after the Sharks eliminated them from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Los Angeles had lost their lone meetings of the season against top teams such as San Jose, Chicago, Detroit, Edmonton and Vancouver prior to Monday’s win. Better puck management, a higher volume of shots, more pucks sent in deep and strong work along the boards all contributed to the successful L.A. effort.
The two sides were a combined 0-8 on the power play, although Los Angeles netted a four-on-four goal. After some early difficulty by Sharks goalie Antti Niemi, he found a rhythm and Jonathan Quick remained locked in for the full 60 minutes of his 33-save shutout.
Third Star- Defenseman Willie Mitchell, LAK, whose remarkably consistent positional play contrasted brilliantly with his wise risk to jump in on a play that led to a four-on-four insurance goal. Fittingly, the stay-at-home Mitchell had already returned to his position on the blue line when the puck went in the net.
Second Star- Center Mike Richards, LAK, who has been “on fire” and “carried the Kings at times” in his short tenure in Los Angeles according to coach Terry Murray. Richards scored off a feed from longtime linemate Simon Gagne, who played with Richards in Philadelphia between 2004 and 2010.
First Star- Goalie Jonathan Quick, LAK, who was a wall in net, including against five dangerous San Jose power plays. Quick withstood barrages late in both the second and third periods to avenge the 2-4 loss he sustained in San Jose earlier this month.