A sleepy second period at Staples Center turned into a goalfest about halfway in, with the Kings sandwiching two goals around a goal by the Devils within a span of one minute and 30 seconds. When the ice chips cleared, the Kings had a 3-1 lead.
The Kings took a 2-0 lead at 9:32, after the Devils had been penalized for delay of game. Jack Johnson made a diagonal pass to the left circle to Jarret Stoll, whose one timer hit goalie Martin Brodeur in the chest and popped up in the air. Brodeur tried to snare it but Michal Handzus batted it out of the air and into the net for his second goal this season.
The Devils cut that to 2-1 at 10:38, with a long blast by defenseman Matt Taormina past a possibly screened Jonathan Quick. But the Kings quickly rebuilt a two-goal lead at 11:02. Rob Scuderi took a shot that pinballed off the end boards, and Brodeur came out of his net to play it. But it skidded away from him and to the left circle, where Stoll backhanded it home for his fourth goal this season.
Before the period the Kings brought to the interview room retired defenseman Mattias Norstrom, whom they honored before the game for his 11-plus seasons with the team, and Ian Laperriere, one of several former teammates of Norstrom’s who participated in the ceremony.
“It’s a great thing for a great player, a great friend, a great teammate,” said Laperriere, who has been unable to play for the Philadelphia Flyers this season because of post-concussion symptoms. “I’m just glad I was able to make it.”
He said he has seen few other players with Norstrom’s work ethic. “In today’s game they’re dinosaurs,” he said. “I’m privileged to have had a chance to play a bunch of years with Matty.”
Norstrom, who lives in his native Sweden and is a partner in a business that insures and does financial planning for athletes and artists, said he was delighted to be back for hockey and personal reasons.
“It’s a fun night. It’s a true pleasure to be here, especially for the Kings to put something like this on,” he said.
He also appreciated that the Kings’ first-period goal was scored by the player who wears his old number 14, Justin Williams.
“That’s nice. A good start of the evening,” he said. “It’s exciting to see the way this organization, where they’re moving with this group of players. It is fun for me. I had a great time here but we were lacking success. I’m the first one to admit that. And it’s great to see a younger Kings team having success on the ice. They will get a lot of appreciation from these fans if they keep winning and playing as hard as they are.”
Sadly, Laperriere said he’s still not feeling good and that the brief skate he took Saturday during the ceremony left him uncomfortable. So did the lights and motion. It was the first time he had been on the ice in six weeks, he said. The symptoms are left over from a shot he took to the face during last spring’s playoffs, and he played through them during the Flyers’ run to the Stanley Cup final.
Best wishes to one of the game's true characters.
More later at www.latimes.com/sports