Friday, March 11, 2011
Kings: Kopitar leads win at Columbus
By Dan Arritt
Kings 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 2
Eight keys to the game:
THE FACTS:Anze Kopitar recorded a natural hat trick, his second career three-goal game, lifting the Kings at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
THE STAT: Kopitar scored the first goal of the game during a power play at the 8:08 mark of the first period, taking a pass from Jack Johnson and tapping in the puck for a 1-0 lead. After the Blue Jackets tied the score, 1-1, Kopitar scored with just under five minutes remaining in the opening period on a deflection off Drew Doughty's slap shot. On his third goal, Kopitar had just exited the penalty box when he took a long pass from Dustin Brown and scored on a breakaway for a 3-1 lead with 8:47 left in the second period.
TURNING POINT: Kings goalkeeper Jonathan Bernier faced 15 shots in the first period and managed to keep the Kings from falling behind. Kopitar rewarded Bernier with his second goal, giving the Kings some breathing room heading into the second period.
HOT: Well, this one couldn’t be easier. With his three goals, Kopitar has eight points in the last four games, 15 in the last nine and 21 in the last 15. His other career hat track came Oct. 22, 2009 against Dallas. Not to be forgotten, Justin Williams had a goal and two assists, giving him seven points in the last four games.
NOT: The Kings have been unlucky when it comes to injuries caused by the puck. Jarret Stoll is the latest player to get hit in the face. He took one during the fist period but later returned. Willie Mitchell is still sporting a black eye and numerous stitches after getting struck by the puck last week against Phoenix.
GOOD MOVE: Kings coach Terry Murray seems to have created a healthy competition with his goalies. Jonathan Bernier stopped 32 shots to earn the victory, two days after Jonathan Quick was solid in a 2-1 victory in Detroit. The more Bernier plays, the better he seems to get.
BAD MOVE: The Kings did a great job killing a third-period power play after Stoll went off for interference on Antoine Vermette but then allowed a goal four seconds after they returned to even strength, cutting the deficit to 3-2 with 8 ½ minutes remaining.
NOTABLE: Kings defenseman Drew Doughty had two assists to give him points in seven straight games against the Blue Jackets. Doughty has scored a total of 12 points in those seven games. Doughty was later checked into the upright glass support near the Columbus bench and appeared in pain as he headed to the locker room, but he quickly returned.