Kings at Rangers: Kings Playing Like They Want to Make the Playoffs
The Kings are on night two of a back-to-back on the road and playing the best team in the Metro. All the elements sound like a recipe for disaster, but the Kings played as nice and pretty a game as they ever have as they continue to battle for a playoff spot.
It wasn’t all crisp passes and winning board battles to start. Less than a minute into the game, Mats Zuccarello beats Jonathan Quick to give the Rangers an early lead. It didn’t seem to phase the Kings at all as they continued to pepper Cam Talbot with shots, and it wasn’t long until one of those shots made it past him. What was a surprise was that the Kings’ first tally was off of a fairly weak shot from the blue line by Robyn Regehr and assisted by Kyle Clifford.
I’m not sure what I expected the first goal of the night against a top team to look like, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t it.
If the Kings first goal was a fluke, their next goal was the exact opposite of that and precise as all get out. Justin Williams intercepts Talbot’s clearing attempt, deftly passes it to Kopitar who quickly taps it over to the waiting Gaborik who puts it in the empty net. Seriously one of the prettiest set ups the Kings have produced this season. Just watch it again.
The Kings are up 2-1, but they don’t pump the brakes at all. Early into the third, Dwight King stays hard on the puck and makes a nice pass across the front of the net to Carter who taps it right in. Winning battles, being strong on the puck and beautiful passes seem to be the name of the game for the Kings (at least tonight it was) because their 4th goal was pretty much more of the same. Kopitar being Kopitar out skates a slew of Rangers and gets Muzzin the puck with a beauty of a pass. Muzzin is alone with some time and fires off a wrister that beats Talbot.
Via ESB, Anze Kopitar recorded 7 assists in first 28 games he played this season but has registered NHL-best 37 assists in 42 games since
— LAKingsPR (@LAKingsPR) March 25, 2015
Y’all, Kopitar is so freaking good.
The Rangers are able to close the gap a bit with another goal late in the third, but the Kings are successful in doing what they do best, out possessing and shutting down teams and completely failing to score empty net goals. Can’t do it all I guess.
Despite playing one of their strongest games as of late and getting the win, the rest of the conference didn’t play ball, the wrong teams won, and the Kings are still out of a playoff spot. With 9 games left to play, this is a pretty good showing and a pretty good start for a the Kings Late Season Playoff Push ™