First of all, no matter the outcome, our thoughts are with the people of Los Angeles affected by the tragic fire.
Now to the game.
What we learned in the first period is that, yes, Jonathan Quick is in fact a great goalie. We knew this, but sometimes a visual aid helps. Sebastian “Seabass” Aho had back-to-back snipe opportunities, and Quick shut them down in spectacular fashion.
Williams missed a puck at the crease, one which against many other goalies would’ve been a wide open net but Quick shifted to have a chance at a save even if Williams would have corralled the shot.
Just when it looked like we were going to allow another shorthanded goal early in the lone power play of the first period, Brett Pesce’s turn-and-stickcheck on Torrey Mitchell saves the day.
Overall, the scoring chances were in our favor in the first period by a good margin. But we’ve been here before, haven’t we? What happens next?
In this case, Tyler Toffoli breaks the ice at the 13:33 mark for the Kings, that’s what. After a great first period, Pesce bit on the man in the crease, double-teaming him while leaving Toffoli open.
"It's not impossible. I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home, they're not much bigger than two meters." - Tyler Toffoli, probably pic.twitter.com/S9I0X3aV3Y— LA Kings (@LAKings) December 10, 2017
Then, seconds after Noah Hanifin rings a shot off the post, Anze Kopitar tips a Toffoli pass through the five hole for a two-goal lead. (Am I the only one who thought it looked like few Hurricanes weren’t really moving their feet to get back?)
"Great shot, kid, that was one in a million!" - John Stevens to Anze Kopitar after he gave the LA Kings a 2-0 lead, probably pic.twitter.com/IWdDbRKNt9— LA Kings (@LAKings) December 10, 2017
There were less chances offensively for the Canes in the second period , but it did include another Quick “how’d-he-do-it” save on Elias Lindholm and Brock McGinn.
The Hurricanes get a timely power play shortly into the third period, but can only manage one shot from Jeff Skinner against the league-leading penalty kill of the Kings.
And just as Carolina seemed to be stuck in a funk in the minutes after that power play, another power play with under eight minutes left! This time, Victor Rask slams a slapshot off the arm of Quick. Too quick for Quick? I’d say so.
With the Hurricanes pressuring late, Carolina draws another penalty with about three minutes left in the period, but never goes on the power play. That’s because the Hurricanes skate it around for about a minute, then Elias Lindholm beats the left skate of Quick to make it 2-2 with 2:20 left to play in the second game in the California trek. 2! 2! 2! 2! 2!
The teams trade pressure for the remaining minutes, but it goes to overtime.
The Hurricanes haven’t been very good at overtimes as of recent years, but they tortured the Kings in the first two and a half minutes of this one, with great chances by Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. Had Aho’s chance not bounced, I’m pressed to say we’d have a different storyline.
But alas, it rattled wide, and with under a minute left in the overtime, Scott Darling stumbled blocking a shot, giving Tanner Pearson just enough time and space to put one past for the 3-2 Kings win.
LA Kings fans: I love you.— LA Kings (@LAKings) December 10, 2017
Tanner Pearson: I know. pic.twitter.com/9sCsZNgPTE
A valiant effort, but a valiant loss.
Rank the Performances
Here’s your chance to weigh in on how you think the team performed tonight. Upvote the players you think played well and downvote the ones who didn’t.