On Thursday night, Dec. 17, 2015 in front of a sellout crowd of 21,288 at Bell Centre in Montreal, the Los Angeles Kings defeated the Montreal Canadiens by a final score of 3-0. By virtue of the victory, the Kings improved their record to 3-1-1 on what was the fifth game of a six-game road trip. The Kings are now 7-1-2 in their last 10 games.
There is much that can be said about this game, but it was really all about Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. Quick was nothing short of amazing as he made 45 saves, some of which were quite spectacular, en route to his second shutout of the season. This was his 39th career NHL shutout and first-ever against Montreal. For Quick, this was a nice bounceback win after having been in goal for the previous game which was a 5-3 loss to Ottawa on Monday, Dec. 14.
Against Montreal, the Kings were outshot 18-7 in the first 20 minutes, but Quick kept the home team off the scoreboard. In the second period, Quick kept up his excellent play, while his team picked up the pace and in a span of 95 seconds, put the game away. At 14:47 of the middle period, a Drew Doughty slapshot from the blueline found its way through traffic and past Montreal netminder Mike Condon. Now leading 1-0, the Kings scored on their very next shot on goal. It was Anze Kopitar taking a nice cross-ice feed from Drew Doughty and putting the puck into a wide open corner of the net to push the lead to 2-0 at 16:22.
As the third period began, the Canadiens still had hope. Unfortunately for the home team, the Kings still had Jonathan Quick who was still putting on a rather impressive goaltending clinic. Despite outshooting the Kings 15-4 in the third period, all Montreal would ultimately have to show for it, would be an empty-net goal against, scored by Marian Gaborik with 49 seconds left in regulation time. The most critical moment of the game had come just a few minutes earlier, when Kings defenseman Christian Ehrhoff took a tripping penalty at 16:16. Montreal pulled the goaltender in order to make it a two-man advantage, but could only muster one shot on goal.
Kings notes – The Kings now have an overall record of 20-9-2 (42 pts) on the season, which is good for nine-point lead in the Pacific division and second-place overall in the Western Conference. The Kings will wrap up the road trip on Saturday night, Dec. 19 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. They will return home to play one game at STAPLES Center on Tuesday, Dec. 22 against the San Jose Sharks. This will afford Kings fans their first chance to see forward Michael Mersch play in a regular season home game. Mersch was called up last week and appeared in his first-ever NHL game on Dec. 11 in Pittsburgh.
Dec. 17, 2015 – LA Kings 3, Montreal Canadiens 0. Final shots on goal: MON 45, LAK 20. Power play: MON 0/3, LAK 0/2. Three Stars of the game: 1) Jonathan Quick – LAK, 2) Drew Doughty – LAK, 3) Dale Weise – MON. Goaltenders: LAK – Jonathan Quick, MON – Mike Condon.
Kings forward line combinations:
Kings defense pairings: