Two goals in just over two minutes and four goals in the first period is about as good a start as you can hope for. And the Los Angeles Kings held onto that early lead to beat the Ottawa Senators 5-2.
The two early goals must have come from players like Kevin Fiala, Gabe Vilardi or Adrian Kempe right? Wrong, Matt Roy and Mikey Anderson, who had a combined 18 goals in nine NHL seasons, got the scoring started. Both shutdown defensemen activated into the play and scored below the faceoff circle. Getting defensemen like Anderson and Roy jumping up into the play and contributing offensively is a topic Todd McLellan addressed a few weeks ago.
"We needed more (offense) from our blue line," said McLellan. "Matt Roy, I think, leads or it tied for shots on goal for a defenseman. And he doesn't play power-play time, so a lot of it is happening 5v5 which is a real good sign. If the puck goes to the other team's net, who knows what can happen and a lot of times the offensive team gets it back. So that's a real good way for Matt or Mikey to contribute offensively and Roysie does have a really good shot."
Well, he got more from the blue line Tuesday night.
Two goals from Viktor Arvidsson in the first and another from Fiala in the second gave the Kings enough insurance to manage the second half of the game.
This game also saw Alex Iafallo return to the lineup, who's been out since Oct. 17, with a lower-body injury. He made an instant impact, grabbing an assist on his first shift back.
"It felt great (to be back), to be honest," said Iafallo after the game. "Watching all the time was hard to watch, still cheering the boys on but it's definitely great to get back there on the ice and have fun out there."
"He's (Iafallo) just steady," said McLellan. "He does a lot of little things, you could see early in the first period he was ready to go. I'm sure his hands and his legs probably won't feel as good as he'd like them too, naturally. But his mind was going to the right spot, real good sense at times. I liked that line, I thought that line played really well."
Tuesday was also the first start in an LA Kings jersey for goaltender Pheonix Copley. It was Copley's first start since February 2022. He had a solid game, with 31 saves and 0.95 goals saved above expected. He made one highlight save in the third period, stone walling Claude Giroux back door.
"It (the win) felt good," said Copley. "The guys played well in front of me which is always nice."
"I'm just taking it day by day, and doing everything I can to help this team win when I get the chance."
More 31 save and positive goals saved above expected performances will give him several more chances to help this team win.
The Kings continue their Canada swing Tuesday, facing off against the Toronto Maple Leafs.