Thursday, February 24, 2011
Kings: Simmonds, Doughty lead the way in 4-2 victory
By Dan Arritt
LOS ANGELES -- The roommates will be celebrating tonight.
Wayne Simmonds recorded the second two-goal game of his career and good friend Drew Doughty scored the winner 4 ˝ minutes into the third period to lift the Kings to a 4-2 victory against the Minnesota Wild in the first game at a sold-out Staples Center since Jan. 26.
With the victory, the Kings moved into sole possession of fifth place in the Western Conference, taking a two-point lead over five other teams, including the Wild.
The winning goal was a thing of beauty for the Kings, who usually rely on gritty play around the net to get their points. Ryan Smyth brought the puck up ice then dumped it off to Dustin Brown just as he crossed the Minnesota blue line. Doughty was trailing three Kings into the offensive zone and Brown hit him in stride for a smooth redirection past Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom.
The Kings then had to hold on the last two minutes, as Smyth was called for tripping in his own offensive zone with 1:59 remaining. The Wild called a timeout with 1:27 left and pulled Backstrom for a two-man advantage, but the Kings won the face-off and Anze Kopitar scored into the empty net from his own end for a two-goal advantage.
With the victory, the Kings improved to 10-1-3 in their last 14 games, and 6-5-1 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.
Jonathan Bernier gave up two soft goals but stopped 24 other shots in his 17th start this season to improve to 7-8-2.