LOS ANGELES -- Two players who began the season in the American Hockey League scored two of the biggest third-period goals of the season Monday night, lifting the Kings to a 2-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers at Staples Center and inching them closer to their first division title in 21 years.
Rookie defenseman Slava Voynov scored 34 seconds into the third period to break a scoreless tie, and rookie left wing Dwight King cemented the victory with 2:32 remaining, giving the Kings a two-point lead in the Pacific Division with two games remaining.
The victory also pushed the Kings lead to four points over the ninth-place Dallas Stars, who have three games left on the regular-season schedule.
“We’ve got to win, that’s it, it doesn’t matter which way you do it,” said defenseman Matt Greene. “Obviously, the way we’ve been having success is playing the right way and grinding teams down and that’s what we did tonight.”
Voynov was the final cut coming out of training camp, but was brought up two weeks later because of injuries. He was sent back down in early February due to an abundance of depth on the blue line, but again was called up when Jack Johnson was traded to Columbus in late February for forward Jeff Carter.
Of his eight goals this season, five have been scored in the third period and two in the second. Even more impressive, the Kings are now 30-15-7 when he’s in the lineup.
“It seems like he gets his points whenever we need them,” Greene said. “He never just kind of scores the fifth goal or anything like that. It’s always the go-ahead or the tying goal or the winning goal. He’s a real stud back there.”
King has been on the same line as Mike Richards even since he was recalled from the AHL on Feb. 10. It was Richards who set him up with a perfect centering pass that King was able to re-direct into the net.
“I’ve played with Mike the whole time I’ve been up here which has made things pretty easy,” King said. “He’s a good two-way player and he makes the game pretty easy out there, so it’s just someone I’m familiar with out there and it seems to be going well.”
Kings coach Darryl Sutter was quick to deflect the praise to Richards and Anze Kopitar, who set up Voynov for his goal.
“Richie made a heck of a play on the second [goal] and Kopi made a heck of a game on the first one and they both finished,” Sutter said.