The Kings entered Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday night looking to end what’s been a difficult month on a positive note. LA put forward a solid 60-minute performance and defeated Nashville by a score of 4-2.
After low-event first and second periods, the Kings were outshot 17-3 in the third. However, a couple of strong penalty kills and timely saves from David Rittich sealed the deal for LA.
The Kings held the lead for 48:51 tonight. Holding leads has been something they have struggled with during their recent poor stretch of play, but a more direct effort allowed LA to get the win tonight.
Turcotte Time: After having his assist on Carl Grundstrom’s goal taken away in the first period, it seemed as if rookie Alex Turcotte’s first NHL point might have to wait; however, he ripped a shot past Juuse Saros in the second period for his first career goal and point. Turcotte went on to add an assist in the final frame. It’s been a long, tumultuous road for the 22-year-old forward, with countless injuries stifling his professional career up to this point. Strong efforts like tonight will help him become more comfortable in the NHL and possibly cement his place in LA’s lineup. How good was he? Well, some of the analytics suggest he was very good.
— HockeyStatCards (@hockeystatcards) February 1, 2024
Rittich Keeps Rolling: Goalie David Rittich made 39-of-41 saves vs. Nashville. He’s had exceptional moments for the Kings at times this season, while in other situations he’s been average. Overall, though — like Pheonix Copley one year ago — he just gets wins. The veteran netminder has now posted a 5-1-3 record with a .924 sv% since being recalled on Dec. 15. With Copley being ruled out for the remainder of the season and there being a real need to keep Cam Talbot fresh for the stretch run, Rittich will likely continue to play a prominent role in LA’s outcomes going forward.
Second Line’s Success: Coach Todd McLellan’s second line of Trevor Moore, Phil Danault, and Kevin Fiala has been the Kings best since the calendar flipped to 2024. They led the team in scoring over the course of January with 31 points in 14 games; and every member of the line rounded out the month with a point tonight. Even as McLellan experimented with many personnel changes and new line combinations in January, this trio has remained a strong, offensive threat for the Kings most nights.
Long Break Ahead: LA will have the next nine days off due to All-Star Weekend and the league-mandated bye week. This will serve as a chance to reset both mentally and physically, as the Kings try to have a fresh mindset entering their final 34 games. They could also get injured forwards Viktor Arvidsson and Blake Lizotte back from IR soon, which would be a huge boost.
Lead photo via ALoImages
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