LOS ANGELES—It was a small step for the Kings, but a giant leap for their confidence.
After dropping 10 of 12 games over a three-week stretch since Christmas, the Kings won their second consecutive game Monday night, a solid 2-0 victory against the Boston Bruins, one of the hotter teams in the NHL.
Kings goalkeeper Jonathan Quick played his best game in a month, stopping 33 shots to win a duel against Boston’s All-Star net-minder, Tim Thomas.
“Definitely, Quickie was a big part of this one,” said Kings center Anze Kopitar. “He kept us in it…I don’t think we gave up too much. The things we did give up, Quickie was there.
The Kings also recorded a power-play goal to end an 0-for-22 streak on the man advantage.
“We struggled on the power play and we obviously wanted to get that back on track,” said Ryan Smyth, who scored with the man advantage in the first period, tapping in a rebound off a slap shot from Jarret Stoll. “We’ve generated some things, getting to the net, but the second and third chances we haven’t been doing. We got rewarded tonight, which is great…it can win or lose you a hockey game.”
The other key contribution came from rookie Andrei Loktionov, who scored his second career goal to give the Kings a 2-0 lead in the third period.
The Kings have been hurting for production from their top-line left-wing position, which has seen a carousel of players try to fit into that role this season. Loktionov might be the player they've been looking for.
“Loktionov is a very intelligent player, that’s the reason why he is there, to play with Kopitar,” Kings coach Terry Murray said. “He has a great deal of composure with the puck and we can see the chemistry happening on that second goal.”
Following their wins against Phoenix and Boston, the Kings will try to maintain their momentum heading into Wednesday’s game against visiting San Jose. After that, it’s the All-Star break, following by a 10-game road trip.
“Two big wins against two quality teams,” said Quick, who recorded his fifth shutout this season. “We know we’re good enough to play with the top teams in this league, we just have to do it on a consistent basis.”
Kings defenseman Matt Greene took the urgency a step further, saying the Kings can’t afford any more setbacks if they want to make the playoffs for a second straight season.
“Right now, we’re at a pivotal time of the year,” he said. “We can’t have an off night for the rest of the year. We have to be in every game and playing our A-game.”