Kings beat Columbus in shootout, 4-3
The Kings have become road warriors, turning a potentially deflating 10-game stretch of games away from Staples Center into a joy ride that continued Wednesday with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Jarret Stoll scored the only goal in the tiebreaking procedure with a hard wrist shot.
Drew Doughty had given the Kings a 3-2 lead at 6:08 of the third period, set up nicely by Anze Kopitar and Michal Handzus. But the Blue Jackets, playing before a small but noisy crowd of 12,442 at Nationwide Arena, tied it with 1:23 to play and goaltender Mathieu Garon just reaching the bench to be replaced by an extra skater. Kris Russell was unchecked when he swept the rebound of a shot by Jakub Voracek past a helpless Jonathan Quick.
The Kings extended their point streak on this odyssey to 5-0-2 and extended their overall surge to 8-0-2. The club record for points in consecutive games is 11, set in 1974.
Quick stopped 21 shots, including a high-chest save on Anton Stralman early in the third period, to extend his personal success streak to 7-0-1. It was the 16th straight game in which the Kings held an opponent to three goals or fewer.
But it didn’t come easily.
Someday the Kings will completely end their absurd habit of allowing a goal within five minutes of scoring one. Wednesday wasn’t that day, as they took leads of 1-0 and 2-1 only to allow Columbus to pull even within three minutes each time.
The Blue Jackets matched that at 18:34, on a crisp passing play engineered by Rick Nash, Derek MacKenzie and Voracek. It was finished off by Voracek, no doubt helped when Doughty slid in front of Quick and possibly obstructed his own goalie's view.
Loktionov put the Kings ahead again at 13:05 of the second period, thanks to a fine effort by defenseman Matt Greene. Although Greene isn’t a scorer, he made a nice move to carry the puck and put it on net. Garon fumbled it, and Greene pursued the puck behind the net before centering to Loktionov for the rookie center's second goal in three games.
Columbus pulled even again at 15:14 of the middle period. A puck that had been dumped into the zone rimmed around the boards and to the left side. Grant Clitsome got it to MacKenzie, who fed Nash for a 15-foot shot the skillful winger lifted above Quick for his 27th goal this season.
The Blue Jackets had a five-on-three advantage for 1 minutes and 53 seconds that began late in the second period and carried over to the third, but they couldn’t capitalize on it. The Kings' penalty killers are 29 for 31 over the last 10 games.
-- Helene Elliott, reporting from Columbus, Ohio
Photo: Kings center Anze Kopitar and the Blue Jackets' Chris Clark battle along the boards for the puck in the second period Wednesday night. Credit: Paul Vernon / Associated Press