Kings ride momentum into matchup vs. Ducks
LOS ANGELES — The Kings came into Monday night’s game against the Blues having lost four of their last five games, but their 3-2 win at Staples Center is one the team thinks can change the course.
It’s meaningful hockey, and it’s time to start building off some of the momentum and points, especially with Tuesday’s rivalry game in Anaheim on tap.
“I think we tried to approach it with a bit more focus,” said goaltender Ben Scrivens. “Just attention to detail, we know they have an extremely potent power play and I think they’re second in the league in offensive production so they don’t give up much either. We knew we had our work cut out for us.”
Tyler Toffoli scored twice and Ben Scrivens held St. Louis scoreless until the final minutes of the game as the Kings won their ninth-straight against the Blues. The penalty kill unit successfully killed off each Blues power play and the physical, hard-checking style disrupted their opponents technical play.
The Kings jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first period, making a statement about how they intended to handle their slump play in their own building.
“I think we knew we had to come out with a good game,” Toffoli said. “The past couple games we haven’t played that well at home and we wanted to make a statement against a good team. St. Louis is team similar to us so we had to come out hard and play with body and I thought we did a good job of that.”
“Home ice is important,” said defenseman Jake Muzzin. “We’ve got to create a better identity for ourselves at home and make it a tough building for teams to come in and play.”
The Kings won’t have home ice Tuesday, but a statement still needs to be made, as the Kings trail the Ducks by two points and the Sharks by three in the Pacific Division. It will be the third time this season the Kings have played back-to-back games and they’ve won the last two back-end contests.
“Same mental process and everything we did today,” Scrivens said. “That’s the challenge of playing in this league, you’re going to have back-to-backs against tough teams so that’s a good measuring stick for us.”
The Kings’ recent play has come dangerously close to being a slump. Rivalry or not, Tuesday’s game against a key opponent in the Western Conference will have much more than just bragging rights on the line.
“They’re a rivalry, yeah, but personally I don’t look at it as a rivalry,” Muzzin said. “I want to win every game and play hard every game. We’ve got to continue winning games, stay in the playoff hunt and get home-ice advantage.”