The Los Angeles Kings needed a strong response after their 5-0 loss on Thursday night. And they provided that response with a 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens Saturday night.
Two goals 19 seconds apart; first from Anze Kopitar, then Viktor Arvidsson gave the Kings a 2-0 lead in the first. One they held onto until halfway through the third period. Alex Edler added a third via a deflected goal with just over nine minutes left to make it 3-0 and give the Kings some breathing room.
Montreal didn't give up though. Mike Hoffman and Cole Caufield scored late to bring the Canadiens within one. But, Adrian Kempe would deliver an empty net dagger that sealed the win for the Kings with 37 seconds remaining. Kempe's 7th goal in eight games played against the Canadiens.
It was another solid performance from Pheonix Copley in net. Copley finished with 20 saves and 0.43 goals above expected. It wasn't a game that will blow anyone away. But it's the stable, consistent kind of goaltending the Kings have lacked all season. Anything above a .900 save percentage with a positive goal saved above expected is a win for the Kings.
While this was a good win for the LA Kings. They still need to prove they can win games consistently. And will have to prove they can beat the league's top teams. In their last five games, they've beaten their opponents outside the playoff picture comfortably. And been ran over by teams in the playoff hunt.
Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets they play another team well out of the playoff picture. Their next two games are against teams not in the playoff hunt. Giving them a chance to string a few wins together and build some confidence.