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The Los Angeles Kings picked up a key road win over the Vegas Golden Knights yesterday, coming away with a 5-1 victory.
The first good chance came only about two minutes into the game, when a brutal giveaway from Adrian Kempe resulted in a 2-on-0, but the Golden Knights couldn’t capitalize. Then on a Vegas power play right after, William Karlsson nearly opened the scoring, but ended up putting a shot right off the post. Things quieted down a bit until midway through the frame when then Kings had a couple chances on a power play of their own, but couldn’t convert either.
With only about three minutes to go, however, Kevin Fiala just spun and threw the puck on net from the point and his wrist shot got through traffic to open the scoring. It certainly wasn’t a great start to the frame, but the Kings got better as the period went on and went to intermission up 1-0.
Los Angeles then came out well in the second period and were outshooting Vegas early. Then on a Vegas power play later, Rasmus Kupari took the puck down ice while shorthanded and just put it on net, and thanks to a disastrous rebound by Thompson, Matt Roy was there to score and extend the Kings’ lead. Then later in the frame, Kevin Fiala took a great pass from Sean Durzi down low and managed to beat Thompson five-hole for his second goal of the night, putting the Kings up 3-0 through 40 minutes. It was a great period, outshooting Vegas 11-4 and taking complete control of the game.
The Kings added to their lead in the final frame, as Sean Walker’s shot was stopped, but Viktor Arvidsson was there to whack at the rebound, which bounced off Adin Hill (who was replacing Thompson for the third period), then back off Arvidsson and in, to make it a 4-0 game. We saw very little action after that (which obviously favoured the Kings), with each team only totalling about three shots through the first three-quarters of the period. The Kings did take a late penalty so Vegas pulled the goalie to make a run at getting back into the game, and Jonathan Marchessault scored with only two minutes left, preventing a shutout for Pheonix Copley. However, Kevin Fiala managed to fend off multiple opponents and bury an empty netter shortly after to complete his hat trick, as the Kings picked up the 5-1 win.
Following a shaky first few minutes, this was a great game from the Kings and pretty close to a full 60-minute effort. They were winning battles and didn't give up a ton of chances off mistakes, limiting Vegas to only 20 shots.
It continues what’s been a very good stretch for the Kings, since around mid-December. Even in their losses, Los Angeles has been in every game and we’re seeing those costly turnovers much less frequently than early in the year. Generally, the Kings have done a good job blocking shots and shutting down offense at even strength.
Kevin Fiala’s hat trick was another story, and it’s no surprise he was selected as the Kings’ representative for the All-Star Game. He continues to put together an excellent first season in Los Angeles, which I’ll go more in-depth on in an article soon.
It marked the Kings’ third straight game against a division leader as well, and going 2-1-0 over that stretch is a good sign. As of now, the Kings sit third in the Pacific Division in points percentage, which is probably the more accurate marker for the standings, because of the large discrepancy in games played between the Kings and the likes of the Seattle Kraken.
Los Angeles will be back in action on Monday, as they kick off a four-game homestand against the Edmonton Oilers.
OTHER ARTICLES FROM JANUARY
Islanders come out flat against Kraken, lose first game of road trip
Kings earn win over Stars in first game of 2023
Kings fall to Bruins, Brandt Clarke reassigned to OHL