Kings 3, Vancouver Canucks 2 (SO)
Eight keys to the game:
THE FACTS: Kings right wing Justin Williams scored in regulation and the shootout, and center Mike Richards clinched the victory with his own shootout goal, lifting the Kings to the victory at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
THE STAT: The Kings have been tied after regulation in eight of 14 games under coach Darryl Sutter, earning victories in three. The Kings have lost only once in regulation since Sutter got behind the bench Dec. 22.
TURNING POINT: Sutter changed up his shootout rotation, lifting Anze Kopitar, Jarret Stoll and Dustin Brown in favor of Williams, Richards and Jack Johnson. Williams scored stick side on Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo, Johnson was stuffed on his backhand attempt, then Richards ended the game by scoring up high on Luongo’s glove side after slowing up in the crease. Before the goal by Richards, Kings goalie Jonathan Quick had stopped two of three shootout attempts by Vancouver.
HOT: Williams, who Sutter claimed has been the best forward since he took over last month, has three goals and four assists in his last five games. Williams went the enitre month of November without scoring a goal.
NOT: Brown was noticeably invisible during the game, recording just one shot on goal and three hits. He had a great chance to give the Kings the lead late in the third period, but a nice pass to him in the slot with nothing but ice between him and Luongo slid off his blade.
GOOD MOVE: Kings left wing Dustin Penner, possibly inspired by the bottle of pancake syrup resting behind the bench, scored the first goal of the game, deflecting a slap shot from defenseman Drew Doughty. It was the third goal of the season for Penner and his first in 18 games. Penner, who sat out a game earlier this month after hurting his back while eating pancakes, played one of his better games this season.
BAD MOVE: Vancouver was awarded four power plays, compared to two for the Kings, and the second was very curious. A man-on-man scrum ensued in the first period, but only Kings center Colin Fraser was sent to the box for roughing. The Canucks, with the No. 1 power play unit in the league, scored on one of four man-advantage opportunities, but not that one.
NOTABLE: The Kings finished with just three giveaways, compared to 13 for the Canucks. … The Kings have allowed two goals or fewer in 12 of 14 games under Sutter. … The Kings improved to 4-5 in shootouts this season, the Canucks dropped to 2-4. … The Kings are 73-0-5 in their last 78 games when leading after the second period.
UP NEXT: Thursday vs. Calgary at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.