Thursday, February 10, 2011
Kings: Johnson's late turnover leads to Staal's winner in OT
By Dan Arritt
Pittsburgh Penguins 2, Kings 1 (OT)
Eight keys to the game:
THE FACTS: The Kings dominated the overtime period against the Penguins but Pittsburgh center Jordan Staal, who has replaced the injured Evgeni Malkin on the top line, stole the puck from defenseman Jack Johnson and beat goalkeeper Jonathan Quick with 19 seconds left to earn the victory at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
THE STAT: The Kings took a season-low two shots in the momentum-changing second period after producing 13 in the first. The Penguins came into the game with the second-best defensive unit in the league but two shots on goal in a period is just plain poor.
TURNING POINT: The Penguins took a 1-0 lead just 28 seconds after Pittsburgh defenseman Zbynek Michalek saved a goal on the other end of the ice. Justin Williams made a nice move around Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and slid the puck toward the goal just before Michalek swiped it away. The Penguins then started a 2-on-1 going the other way and Quick stopped an initial wrist shot from Dustin Jeffrey but couldn’t control the rebound and Pittsburgh regained possession. The puck eventually made its way to Pasadena native Brett Sterling,who beat Quick from between the hash marks. Sterling was one of four Pittsburgh forwards called up from the AHL on Thursday to fill in for injured Penguins.
HOT:Jarret Stoll scored his 15thgoal of the season later in the opening period to tie the score, 1-1. Stoll remains on pace to have his best season in a Kings’ uniform. He scored 18 goals for Los Angeles in 2008-09. His best season in the NHL was with Edmonton in 2005-06, when he scored 22. The Kings’ penalty-kill unit has also been strong, killing both against the Penguins and 18 of the last 19 overall.
NOT: Another game, another uninspired effort by Kings All-Star center Anze Kopitar. He failed to score a goal for the 10thconsecutive game and has one in his last 20. Kopitar wasn’t even skating well against the Penguins and Kings coach Terry Murray said as much during an interview between the second and third periods on Fox Sports West. "He’s going to have to pick his tempo up," Murray said. "He’s going to have to get it going with his feet." Fellow first-liner Dustin Brown not only failed to score but his turnover and ensuing penalty in the second period killed the momentum built in the first.
GOOD MOVE: Quick was otherwise strong in net for the Kings, stopping 24 shots, including a sensational toe save with a second remaining in regulation to help the Kings earn at least a point for the seventh consecutive game. Too bad the game couldn't go to the shootout, where Quick is 6-0 this season.
BAD MOVE: Murray decided to play heavyweight enforcer Kevin Westgarth rather than energy machine Brad Richardson, then promptly gave Westgarth one minute of ice time in the first period. Westgarth did drop the gloves and fight Deryk Engelland in the second period, but the fight seemed more scripted than protective. Richardson would have been a much better choice in a tight-checking, low-scoring game.
NOTABLE: The Penguins, who were down four forwards at the start of the game, lost another when Jeffrey suffered an upper-body injury during a second period collision with Quick and did not return.