Sens' Andrew Hammond ends LA Kings' 8-game win streak, 1-0
LOS ANGELES (AP) With each gritty victory, Andrew Hammond's NHL success story gets a bit more preposterous. And the Ottawa Senators' playoff hopes become slightly less improbable.
Hammond made 35 saves to earn his second consecutive shutout in his fourth career start, and the Senators snapped the Los Angeles Kings' eight-game winning streak with a 1-0 victory Thursday night.
Mike Hoffman scored early in the third period for the Senators, who completed a Southern California sweep on consecutive nights to open their five-game road trip. Ottawa hadn't won at Staples Center in seven tries since Jan. 11, 2000, the year the building opened - but not much is normal about this run led by Hammond, a 27-year-old rookie goalie.
''It's obviously pretty crazy what's going on right now,'' Hammond said. ''They're one of the best teams in the league, and I thought they played well.''
But Hammond gave another outstanding performance capped by several sublime late saves to send the defending Stanley Cup champions to their first defeat since Feb. 5. One night earlier, he blanked the Pacific Division-leading Anaheim Ducks.
''I guess he played well,'' said Kings forward Justin Williams, whose apparent second-period goal was disallowed by a quick whistle. ''A lot of pucks hit him and he was in great position. Other than that, I'm not a goalie coach, but no one scored any goals on him two games in a row, so obviously he's doing something right.''
Jonathan Quick stopped 27 shots in his 16th consecutive start for the Kings, who fell just short of matching the longest winning streak in franchise history. Los Angeles hasn't scored in more than 117 minutes, with Hammond shutting out an offense that had scored 26 goals during the streak.
''I don't think many people would have expected a goalie battle between Quick and the Hamburglar,'' Hammond said, referring to his nickname and the McDonald's cartoon character painted on his mask.
Quick's scoreless streak ended at 142 minutes, 44 seconds when Hoffman slipped cleanly behind the Kings' defense and buried Mika Zibanejad's pass for his 21st goal.
Hammond, the AHL veteran pressed into action in Ottawa by injuries to Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner, extended his own scoreless streak to 171 minutes, 44 seconds by hanging on in the final minutes. The Kings couldn't score despite a power play in the final 1:57, giving them a 6-on-4 advantage for most of it.
''It's fun playing against teams that play hard like that,'' Ottawa defenseman Mark Borowiecki said. ''That felt like playoff hockey to me. (Hammond) has been our anchor back there. I thought you could see a little Jonathan Quick in him.''
The Kings' February surge has finally slowed with just one goal in their last two games, but left them in playoff position heading down the stretch.
Williams' goal was waved off early in the second when the referees lost sight of a clearly loose puck, blowing the whistle early.
Williams said the call ''could have'' changed the game.
''But you don't win or lose the game on one call,'' Williams added. ''You win it by the whole body of work in the game, and it simply wasn't good enough. We let them hang around, and we couldn't get one past him.''
Newly acquired Kings defenseman Andrej Sekera didn't make his debut after joining the club in a trade with Carolina on Wednesday, but is expected to play Friday in the Freeway Faceoff in Anaheim.
''Losing isn't an option here,'' Sekera said. ''It's a great environment like that, and I look forward to being in it.''
NOTES: To make room for Sekera, Kings D Alec Martinez went on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 7, when he incurred an apparent concussion. There is no timetable for the Stanley Cup finals hero's return. ... Ottawa's Kyle Turris was hit in the face by Mark Stone's deflected shot in the second period, sending him to the dressing room. ... The Kings lost in regulation at home for just the seventh time in 33 games this season.