Kings Stun Sharks To End Season
The Kings made their off-season much more bearable Saturday night by beating the NHL’s top team, the San Jose Sharks, for the first time this season, 4-3, at the Staples Center in the regular season finale. They finished 34-37-11 (1-3-2 vs. the Sharks) and missed the playoffs for the sixth straight year.
“If you’re not going to make the playoffs, you want to go out with a win,” Kings’ defenseman Matt Greene said on the team’s website. “You try to end the season on a positive note as much as you can. I think we did that. We went out and got a big win and played well.”
Rookie forward Wayne Simmonds remained red hot, scoring on a power play and assisting on another goal. He finished with three goals and two assists in his final four games. Davis Drewiske was selected as the top star of the game, assisting on Simmond’s second-period score and on Michal Handzus’ 18 th, a slap shot at 10:42 of the first period. Alexander Frolov notched his team-leading 32 nd goal on a nifty backhander to give LA a 2-1 first period margin, and Peter Harrold tallied his fourth goal of the season on a wrist shot early in the third period for the game winner. Jonathan Quick continued his superlative late-season play, stopping 27 shots as the Kings were out shot for the seventh time in their final eight games. All three Sharks’ goals came on power plays.
“Quick has been tremendous for us,” Coach Terry Murray said on LAKings.Com. “Every game he has given us the opportunity to win.” The Kings bounced back well after losing to Vancouver, 1-0, Thursday in the rubber game of their three-game Western Canadian road trip. They lost to Calgary and beat Edmonton.
Although the Kings missed out on postseason play, they improved for the second straight season. After totaling 68 and 71 points the previous two years, they finished with 79 this season. The club still wound up last in the Pacific Division, losing out on the games won tiebreaker to Phoenix (36-39-7), which also totaled 79 points.
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King Khronicles: Former Kings’ standout defenseman Rob Blake, now with the Sharks, played in his 1,200 th NHL game in the season windup. Quick played in 44 of the Kings’ last 51 games, allowing 2.48 goals per game. Team Captain Dustin Brown was selected the Kings MVP and Handzus was chosen the team’s top defensive player. LA tied for 26 th with Phoenix in goals scored with 207 and allowed 234. Fifteen teams gave up more goals. Last season, the Kings scored 231 and surrendered 266. Anze Kopitar led the Kings scoring, amassing 27 goals and 39 assists to rank 45 th in the league. Frolov tied for 22 nd in goals with four other players. Defensemen Sean O’Donnell and Greene were the team’s only regulars consistently to be on the ice when the Kings outscored their opponents, finishing plus-2 and plus-1 respectively. Jack Johnson was minus-18, Kopitar and Drew Doughty minus-17, and Brown minus-15. Frolov ended up minus-6. The Kings are anxiously waiting for Tuesday, April 14, when they will participate in another draft lottery.
By Bob Trostler
Los Angeles Kings Correspondent