The Los Angeles Kings came out of the Olympic break looking like a different team, en route to a 6-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche, Wednesday, in Colorado.
Coming into the game, the Kings had only 15 goals in their last 11 games and had a record of 2-8-1 over that span. Not only were they scoring regularly against the Avalanche but they did it in many different ways.
Robyn Regehr scored the first Kings goal on a shot from the point that made it past the Avalanche defense and appeared to not be seen until the last minute by their goaltender JS Giguere. Then, early in the second period, they took a 2-1 lead on a goal by Jarret Stoll. Dustin Brown stole the puck and got a breakaway, but missed the original shot. He stayed with it and hit a cutting Stoll with a beautiful pass for the easy goal.
The Kings went down 4-2 but scored four unanswered goals in just 23:11 of playing time. Getting traffic in front of the net created all the first three of them. Anze Kopitar scored the first one on a wrap-around. Jeff Carter scored the second after shielding the goalies vision and getting a pass right in front of the goal from Mike Richards. Then, Kopitar added another one after the puck got popped up in the air in front of the Avalanche net and he knocked it down and put it in from point blank range.
Dating back to before the break, the Kings have now won two straight games and will look to extend that to three with a winnable game against the Calgary Flame, tonight.
Even though, just one game has been played since the break, the Kings appear to have figured a few things out and despite their recent struggles they are still the sixth seed in the West. They will need to get hot if they plan on climbing up in the standings. They are nine points behind the fifth seeded Avalanche.
The offense will obviously help if it can get going, but it does appear that the Kings will try to unload one of their defenders and a draft pick for a high-scoring forward before the March 5 deadline.
Despite the offensive surge, the biggest thing for the Kings going forward will be the play of Jonathan Quick. He has not been bad this year, but by no means has he been as dominant as recent years. His record stands at 16-13-2 with a 2.18 GAA and a .911 save percentage.
The Kings have proven over the past years that they can win without too much offense if Quick is on top of his game. Quick has proven that no matter how he plays in the regular season, he will always perform in the pressure situation of the playoffs. However, even though they pulled it off the year they won the cup, the Kings cannot afford to fall any lower than sixth in the standings, so he needs to step up sooner rather than later.
In Olympic play for Team USA, Quick was 3-2 with a 2.17 GAA and a .923 save percentage. Four of those goals came in one game so these stats do not quite show how well he played in the games.
If he can keep that momentum going into the stretch run, the Kings should be able to sustain a nice run with just a little help from the offense.