LOS ANGELES-The Los Angeles Kings finally got it going on the offensive end of things. They did it at the right time when they needed it most. The Kings had just scored three goals in three games coming into Game 4 of their NHL Western Conference first round playoff series against the St. Louis Blues.
That changed Monday night.
The Kings put their offense in motion with a 4-3 come-from-behind win in front of a sellout crowd at Staples Center to even the series at two games apiece. The series now comes down to three games. The first team to win two games will move on to the next round.
The loser stays homes and watches the rest of the postseason on their couch.
After St. Louis jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, it looked as if the Kings might be taking an early exit to giving up the Stanley Cup to another team. But the great thing about sports is that going on top of an opponent early doesn’t mean squat if a team can’t finish the job. It is also takes a willing participant to rollover and give up.
The Kings are not one of those teams. The Kings came into this series with the best home record out of all the teams in the league, posting a 19-4-1 won-loss mark. So far, after two games, the Kings are perfect in front of their home crowd, defeating the Blues 1-0 in Game 3 before tying the series in Game 4.
When the Blues scored goals at the 1:12 and 4:32 marks in the first period, goalie Jonathan Quick, who came into the game having stopped 93-of-97 shots in the series, looked as though he would be the fall guy in this contest if the Kings had lost. However, if, maybe, could have and would have, don’t fit the realm of reality.
The reality of the matter is that Quick’s buddies came to his rescue with some overdue offensive punch. The reality also was that there was a level of anxiousness that hovered inside Staples Center. Jeff Carter and Dustin Penner helped reduced a lot of those nervous jitters when they turned around and scored goals before the first period was over to knot the game at 2-2.
Feeding off assists from Mike Richards and Robyn Regehr, Carter scored the first goal of the night for the Kings, slicing their deficit by one at the 9:33 mark. Nearly five minutes later, Penner scored the Kings’ second goal at 14:30 of the first period, thanks to assists from Alec Martinez and Jarret Stoll.
Whatever momentum the Kings thought they had had at the moment was negated by T.J. Oshie’s second goal of the evening when he scored at the 5: 46 mark of the second period to give St. Louis a 3-2 lead.
Going scoreless in the second period, the Kings were up against potentially going down 3-1 in the series with a trip back to St. Louis heading into the final session.
The Kings responded like the reigning NHL champions that they are. Anze Kopitar tied the game with a goal at 7:14 of the third period. The Kings were back in business. Justin Williams put the finishing touches on the comeback, scoring on a goal assisted by Mike Richards and Dwight King at the 8:40 in the period.
The Kings’ scoring output offset a not-so-perfect night for Quick. After allowing three goals to be scored on 17 attempts through the first two periods, Quick blanked St. Louis in the third session, shutting out the visitors from the goal on five tries.