Saturday, October 15, 2011
Kings: Jack Johnson wins it in overtime...again
By Dan Arritt
Kings 3, Philadelphia Flyers 2 (OT)
Eight keys to the game:
THE FACTS: With defenseman Drew Doughty knocked from the game with an upper-body injury early on Saturday night in Philadelphia, the remaining blue liners stepped up long enough for Jack Johnson to score the game winner in overtime and lift the Kings to victory at Wells Fargo Center.
THE STAT: On the final day of a 16-day road trip through three countries and five states, the Kings were forced to play with five defensemen for nearly the entire game after Doughty took a hard hit from rookie center Zak Rinaldo in the opening minute. Doughty, who appeared to be favoring his right shoulder before he left the bench, is expected to miss seven to 10 days, the team reported. The Kings were even thinner on experience on the back end as Davis Drewiske was substituting for Alec Martinez and Drewiske had not played in an NHL game since Feb. 24.
TURNING POINT: With the score tied, 2-2, Kings forward Simon Gagne was tripped by Flyers left wing James van Riemsdyk with 19.9 seconds left in regulation. The power play carried over to overtime, giving the Kings a 4-on-3 situation and plenty of open ice to work with. Mike Richards, playing in his first game in Philadelphia since he was traded to the Kings over the summer, sent a sharp pass from the high slot to Johnson, who was stationed near the left post, and he redirected the puck past goalie Ilya Bryzgalov with one second left on the man advantage. In the season opener last week against the New York Rangers, Johnson also scored the game-winner off a pass from Richards during a 4-on-3 in overtime.
HOT: Johnson had the most noteworthy play among the depleted defensive corps, but goalie Jonathan Quick once again played well enough to get the Kings into overtime for the third time in their first four games. Quick stopped 32 of 34 shots, with the only goals coming on Philadelphia power plays. Rob Scuderi had an excellent game, blocking five shots. Johnson played 30-plus minutes for just the second time in his career and Willie Mitchell had four hits, three blocked shots and an assist on the Kings first goal.
NOT: The Kings committed seven penalties with their sticks, two of which led to goals by the Flyers. Richards was nearly on the hot seat after committing a high-sticking penalty 27 seconds after the Kings took a 2-1 lead on the second goal of the game by Justin Williams with 7:25 remaining in regulation. Philadelphia promptly scored on the ensuing power play to tie the score, 2-2.
GOOD MOVE: The second goal by Williams was a thing of beauty, as he took a pass from Anze Kopitar on the icing line, drove to the net and swiped a backhand at Bryzgalov. The first shot was stopped but Williams was in position to swipe the second past the sprawled goaltender and into the net for the Kings first lead of the game.
BAD MOVE: After the hit on Doughty, Kings left wing Dustin Penner went after Rinaldo but the aggression ended up costing him 17 minutes of penalties for being an instigator in the fight. That seemed to take Penner out of the game as he played just one shift in the third period and overtime. Penner missed the first two games this season with a lower-body injury and his health didn’t seem to be a concern Saturday as he remained on the bench during the third period and overtime. He may have put himself in the doghouse with his overzealous response to the Doughty hit.
NOTABLE: Kopitar and Richards combined to win 25 of 45 face offs. The Kings improved to 4-for-17 on the power play this season. The Flyers were attempting to start the season 4-0 for the first time since 1995.
UP NEXT: Tuesday vs. the St. Louis Blues at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.