Focus has been the key to the Los Angeles Kings’ recent success.
Anze Kopitar scored twice as the Kings beat the Ottawa Senators 5-2 on Saturday afternoon for their sixth straight win.
In many ways this game was over before it even started as the Kings took control of the game, scoring twice by the four-minute mark. The game could have been much uglier had Los Angeles not let up in the second period.
“We kind of slacked a little after we were up 3-0,” said Kings defenceman Drew Doughty. “We let them back in the game and they started outshooting us and taking the play to us and after they got those two we had to get back in the game.”
Los Angeles now has a 22-7-4 record, third-best in the NHL.
Ottawa, meanwhile, continues to struggle with afternoon games. The Senators are now 1-6-1 when the puck drops before 7 p.m.
“They got off to a better start than us so they carry momentum early,” said Ottawa’s Jason Spezza.
Jeff Carter, Dwight King and Jarrett Stoll also scored for L.A. Rookie goaltender Martin Jones extended his winning streak to five games, stopping 37 shots.
Joe Corvo and Erik Karlsson scored for the Senators (13-15-6), who saw their home record drop to 6-9-3 for the year. Starter Craig Anderson was pulled after allowing two goals on four shots in 4:18. Robin Lehner finished the game allowing three goals on 22 shots.
L.A. took control early on as King opened the scoring just 21 seconds into the game beating Anderson blocker side.
Carter’s goal at 4:18 put an end to Anderson’s afternoon as he looked awful on the play.
“I had a bad day,” said Anderson. “Everyone has a bad day once in a while. It just so happens the red light goes on when I make a mistake. It’s all magnified that way. It stinks, but I can’t focus too much on it, I’ve got to move forward and put it behind you.
“It’s a little blip on the radar and one of those things where the sooner you forget about it the better off you’ll be.”
Senators coach Paul MacLean admitted that Anderson’s rough start made it that much more difficult for his team.
“We didn’t get saves early,” said MacLean. “That team that we played is a very good team. They play a certain way and they play that way the whole game and they make it difficult for you and they certainly did that (Saturday).”
While Anderson had his share of struggles his teammates say they didn’t offer much help.
“It’s a (bad) goal, but at the same time we can’t just put it on (Anderson) in that situation,” said defenceman Erik Karlsson. “The things he’s done for us in the past is probably way more than just one unlucky bounce there so we should be able to clean it up there for him. Obviously today we didn’t have his back like he usually has ours.”
Things didn’t get any better as Kopitar made it 3-0 after beating Lehner from in close.
That marked the 18th straight game in which the Kings did not allow a goal in the first period.
“We just keep winning,” said Stoll. “There’s just a bunch of things going right right now. We just have to make sure we keep on top of it.”
The Senators finally managed to give the 17,140 fans in attendance something to cheer about midway through the second as Corvo was able to jump on Spezza’s rebound and beat the 23-year-old Jones on the left side.
Ottawa made things close as Karlsson made it 3-2 at the four-minute mark of the third, but were never able to score the equalizer as Jones was solid.
“We stuck to it as good as we could,” said Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson. “We won the second period and got an early goal in the third, but unfortunately wasn’t able to hold on for the tie.”
Stoll made it 4-2 at 13:18 of the third as he picked up a Drew Doughty rebound and Kopitar scored his second of the game on the power play with just over three minutes remaining putting an end to any hopes of a Senators comeback.
Notes: D Jared Cowen sat out the second of his two-game suspension. D Marc Methot missed his second game due to the flu and LW Matt Kassian was a healthy scratch for the Senators. Cory Conacher turned 24. a The Kings were without C Colin Fraser due to a concussion. RW Matt Frattin, RW Linden Vey and D Matt Greene were a healthy scratch.
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