Ducks say Hampus Lindholm might miss rest of season

The medical news was bad for the Ducks before they took the ice to face the Sharks on Monday night at SAP Center in San Jose. General Manager Bob Murray revealed defenseman Hampus Lindholm probably will be sidelined for the rest of the season because of a fractured wrist.

“If he’s OK to play the last week of the year, I doubt I will allow that to happen,” Murray said before the Ducks’ 4-0 victory over the Sharks. “We’re going to know more next week. There’s still a little pain with a certain motion, the downward motion, where that little chip is out of his bone.

“There’s an old chip from an injury a while ago and where it is it’s a tough place to heal. I’d love to get our full defense playing, don’t get me wrong, but you’ve got to put your eyes in the right direction if it comes to the last week of the year.

“Long-winded there, but I don’t know if you’re going to see him.”

Lindholm was hurt during a Feb. 27 game against the Vegas Golden Knights and the original estimate was that he would be sidelined for up to six weeks. He sat out Monday for a 21st game. Saturday marks seven weeks since he was injured during an overtime loss to Vegas.

He had two goals and four assists in 18 games before he was hurt.

Lindholm’s absence has sent a ripple effect through the Ducks’ defense corps, opening an opportunity for rookie Jamie Drysdale to make his NHL debut after a strong start to the season with the San Diego Gulls of the AHL. It also figures to give newly acquired defenseman Haydn Fleury a chance to play big minutes.

“With every injury, as tough as it is for the team, we also have to look at it as an opportunity for people to grow, get extra reps, and that’s going to bode well for Haydn, for sure,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said when asked how he might fill the void for the rest of the season.

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Kings trade Jeff Carter to Penguins for pair of draft picks

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Kings traded forward Jeff Carter to the Pittsburgh Penguins late Sunday night for a pair of conditional draft picks.

Kings Vice President and General Manager Rob Blake said the franchise will have a conditional third-round selection in the 2022 NHL draft and a conditional fourth-round selection in the 2023 draft. Pittsburgh GM Ron Hextall spent seven seasons with the Kings as assistant general manager, including when they won their first Stanley Cup in 2012.

Carter has played 16 years in the NHL with the last nine-plus seasons coming with the Kings, who he helped to a pair of Stanley Cup titles. The 36-year old forward was acquired from Columbus during the 2011-12 season. During his time with the the Kings, he led the team in power-play (57) and game-winning goals (44), was second in goals (194), third in points (383) and fourth in assists (189).

In 40 games this season, Carter has eight goals and 11 assists. He leaves Los Angeles tied for 10th in franchise history in goals and first in overtime goals with 11. The Kings are likely to miss the postseason for a third straight season. They have won only three of their last 10 and are six points out of the final playoff spot in the West Division.

Pittsburgh is in third place in the East Division, but just two points behind Washington and the New York Islanders for the lead.

Carter’s departure leaves just four members of the Kings two Stanley Cup teams still with the franchise — captain Anze Kopitar, forward Dustin Brown, defenseman Drew Doughty and goalie Jonathan Quick.

Carter will have one year left on his current contract, with a $5.27 million cap hit entering next season. The Kings will retain half of his salary as part of the conditions of the trade.

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Kings will host meaningful two-game series against Coyotes

While a midseason meeting with the Arizona Coyotes might not normally be a marquee event, the upcoming two-game set with the Kings hosting the Coyotes might be the most critical contests of their season to date.

Having just dropped two straight games and five out of six over all to sixth-place San Jose, the Kings next enter a two-game set with the West’s final playoff team, for now, Arizona.

Should the Kings win both games in regulation, they would be three points behind Arizona in the standings and be well within striking distance of a playoff berth. Kings Coach Todd McLellan has said his team is aware of the standings, but has stayed focused on imminent tasks of preparation and execution.

“This is going to sound very cliché-ish, they’re all important. It doesn’t matter whether the team is next to you in the standings or not,” McLellan said. “When you’re a seven or eight team division, and four are going to make it, every night is a four-point game.”

The downside for the Kings is that they have not won consecutive games since Feb. 24, and have had regulation winning streaks just three times this season (two games twice and one three-game surge). The Kings have also not gotten ideal results from three-point games this year: of their eight games that have reached overtime or a shootout, the Kings have won just two.

The Kings have largely continued to alternate goalies, though Cal Petersen has three wins and four performances with a .940 save percentage or better in his last five appearances. Jonathan Quick has one win in his last five starts, and only one game with a save percentage above .900.

So might McLellan start riding the hot hand more down the stretch?

“We’ve done that in small portions during the year. Sometimes our hand was forced due to injury or illness or COVID,” McLellan said. “Yes, we would like to get into that situation, but when you look at the number of games we play, I’ve said it all along, both of them are important and will continue to be important.”

Arizona had won four of its last five games entering Sunday’s meeting with the Ducks. Prior to that, they weathered a five-game losing streak, and in their one recent loss they surrendered nine goals to the Colorado Avalanche.

With both Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta injured, the Coyotes have been relying on third-string goalie Adin Hill. Hill made his sixth straight start Sunday, having won five of his six previous appearances.

Wingers Phil Kessel and Clayton Keller lead the Coyotes in scoring with 28 points apiece entering Sunday’s action. Kessel has been scorching of late, producing three multi-point efforts in his last five outings, including a hat trick.

Arizona at Kings

When: 7 p.m. Monday/7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Staples Center (no in-person attendance).

TV/Radio: Bally Sports West//iHeartRadio

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Momentum eludes Kings again with loss to Sharks

Teams make plans and the hockey gods laugh.

A night after they beat the West division’s best team, the Kings stumbled against one of its worst, falling 2-1 to the San Jose Sharks on Monday at SAP Center.

The game saw them earn noticeably more shots on goal, scoring chances and power-play opportunities but still lose, due in large part to two fluky San Jose goals that banked in off Kings players.

“Sometimes it’s not your night yet you put in a pretty good effort,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said.

Reminiscent of a Feb. 27 game against the Minnesota Wild, the Kings saw a number of unusual bounces. Monday, those tough breaks ended up defying the typical barometers of a team’s level of success.

“We’re beyond this game already. We’ll prepare for the next night,” McLellan said.

The Kings had an opportunity to gain ground on fourth-place St. Louis, which lost to the division-leading Vegas Golden Knights on Monday. Instead, they remained five points behind the Blues.

One day after signing a three-year contract extension, defenseman Matt Roy scored his first goal of the season for the Kings, who haven’t won consecutive games since their six-game winning streak ended on Feb. 26. Goalie Jonathan Quick made 21 saves.

Centers Logan Couture and Ryan Donato scored for San Jose. Former Kings goalie Martin Jones was heavily occupied, making 41 saves.

San Jose defenseman Mario Ferraro saved a tying goal as the buzzer loomed when he tied up center Anze Kopitar’s stick at the right post. The Kings struggled with the extra man: they failed to cash in any of their six-on-five opportunities, going 0 for 5 on the power play.

With just more than three minutes left in the game, the Kings buzzed around the San Jose net but a Kopitar shot hit the post and a strong save by Jones on a one-timer preserved San Jose’s edge.

Less than four minutes into the third period, Donato reclaimed the lead for San Jose. He drove wide on the right wing, beating two Kings to the back of the net. He circled looking for a wraparound or a centering pass. He chose the latter option, but his centering attempt caromed in off Quick’s skate anyway.

Donato is the son of former Kings and Ducks forward Ted Donato, who currently coaches Harvard University.

“Positionally we were in the right spots on both of those (San Jose goals),” McLellan said. “It goes off somebody’s skate or leg or chin pad. There’s really nothing we can do about it.”

To start the final frame, the Kings found winger Alex Iafallo alone between the hash marks, only to see him shoot a rolling puck into Jones’ blocker. Winger Andreas Athanasiou then drew a penalty, but their fifth opportunity produced the same result as the previous four.

Apart from a couple of brief stretches, the Kings carried much of the play in the second period.

The Kings found the equalizer with 2:29 left in the second stanza. Center Gabe Vilardi won an offensive zone faceoff cleanly over to right winger Austin Wagner, who moved the puck to Roy for a one-time slap shot that he powered past Jones’ glove for his first goal since Dec. 17, 2019, at Boston.

“There were two areas where we fell short … the power play and faceoffs,” McLellan said. “We could whine about that but yet a faceoff got us our lone goal.”

The Kings had out-shot the Sharks handily and generated numerous rebounds, but mostly fired pucks at the pads of Jones, who has historically been vulnerable high to his glove side. Roy said he lifted the puck in an effort to avoid the San Jose defender attempting to block his shot.

“I was just trying to get it past the guy coming out to block it,” Roy said. “Lucky for us, it went in.”

In the first period, Couture got the Sharks on the board by flashing some pinball skills on the ice 8:22 into the contest. His shot from the left side ricocheted off three Kings – forward Adrian Kempe, Quick and defenseman Kurtis MacDermid – before entering the net.

With approximately 7:30 left in the first period, defenseman Drew Doughty leaned into a one-timer that Jones saved, only to see Doughty draw a high-sticking penalty against winger Timo Meier seconds later.

The Kings did not convert on the power play or the nifty counter-attack that their third line pieced together at even strength.

That was the second of three man-advantage opportunities, none of which the Kings were able to turn into a tally. Feeding that futility were three faceoff losses in the offensive zone to start each power play, part of a broader trend of struggling in the circle for the Kings.

The Kings ended the first period down 1-0, but they did manage a victory in a battle of Kurtises between MacDermid and Sharks winger Kuris Gabriel. It was MacDermid’s third fighting major this season, and the fourth for Gabriel. The Kings have had a fight in four consecutive games.

MacDermid’s spot in the lineup seems firm for now as Olli Maatta (upper-body injury) did not travel to San Jose. The Kings recalled defenseman Austin Strand from the Ontario Reign.

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Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar lead Kings’ rout of slumping Blues

Instead of being forced to play three games in four days, the Kings got a bit of extra rest. That paid off as they rode a fiery first period to a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night at Staples Center.

The Kings had three injured regulars, one more absence and a bug – not COVID-19, they emphasized – going around their dressing room. But nature intervened when heavy snowfall in Denver stranded the Kings in Colorado, causing their Monday game against St. Louis to be postponed. The Blues, who were 10-2-2 on the road (second in the points and points percentage) before Wednesday, were awaiting the Kings when they returned. The Kings improved to 5-1-1 against St. Louis, which has lost five straight.

“The Colorado trip was hard on us,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “A lot of things happened on that trip with illness, the storm, us not playing very well in Game 1, having to react in Game 2, playing a little bit better but still losing both games, and then spending that extra day didn’t help.”

McLellan praised his leadership group, which organized a brief skate Tuesday despite it being a scheduled day off, and said his team has risen to St. Louis’ level more often than not this season.

Defenseman Drew Doughty, winger Carl Grundstrom and forward Trevor Moore, who also had an assist, scored goals for the Kings. Anze Kopitar had an empty-net goal that traveled the length of the ice and an assist. Forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan, who played his first game since Feb. 18, contributed two assists.

Cal Petersen, who faced nearly 90 shots over two games in Colorado, also got a bit of a breather, facing a more modest total of 20 shots and chipping in with an assist. Jonathan Quick was available to back up Petersen, having recovered from an upper-body injury during the break, while defenseman Olli Maatta exited COVID-19 protocol and skated alongside Sean Walker on Wednesday.

Winger Mike Hoffman tallied for St. Louis. Jordan Binnington started in goal for the Blues, and he allowed three first-period goals that left St. Louis looking up at the Kings all night.

The Kings got going with a power-play goal and a simple recipe: pass, shoot, recover, pass, shoot. With eight players around the net, the Kings dug the puck out of a crowd. Kopitar moved the puck high to an open Doughty, who made no mistake with a shot from between the tops of the faceoff circles.

It was his seventh goal of the season and the Kings’ 26th man-advantage goal in only 28 games. Kopitar’s assist was his 20th power-play point of the season, second-most in the NHL.

A mere 58 seconds later, the Kings’ workman-like line of Moore, Grundstrom and Anderson-Dolan donned their hard hats. A puck that glanced off Grundstrom’s leg and into the corner was centered by his linemates, before he swept it home with a diving effort to end his 14-game goal drought.

“Sometimes things work with combinations of players … they complement each other, they have a tenacity yet a calmness to them that allows them to keep plays alive,” McLellan said, praising the trio’s conditioning on a night when they played more even-strength minutes than any other Kings line.

Their goal prompted a St. Louis timeout just 4:19 into the game.

“Whoever has the best start is usually coming out on top … there was definitely an emphasis from Todd and the coaches to have a quick start,” Anderson-Dolan said.

The timeout settled the Blues to an extent, but it did not prevent a third goal. Again it was the swift, industrious trio converting for the Kings. Anderson-Dolan skated in a hook pattern toward the net before his cross-crease pass banked in off Moore’s skate with 5:49 left in the first period.

Anderson-Dolan now has seven points in as many games this season, and the Kings have won four straight games with him in the lineup.

“I try to focus on what I can control, and that’s how hard you’re working and the details in your game. Tonight the points were there but I didn’t play as well as I wanted to,” Anderson-Dolan said.

There was a frightening instant in the first period when St. Louis defenseman Torey Krug checked Kopitar along the boards. Kopitar’s shoulder struck the glass and his head hit the stanchion. Kopitar did not miss a shift. Krug later fought with winger Andreas Athanasiou in the second period.

The Kings took their first penalty of the game at its midway mark. The Blues had the fifth-ranked power play on the road going into the game and had scored on nine of their previous 22 man-advantage opportunities. But the Kings killed the penalty with aplomb.

It was during a delayed penalty that the Blues got on the board. Hoffman curled toward the blue line and flung the puck through a four-man screen of two Blues and two Kings. Hoffman’s eighth goal of the year with under four minutes to play in the second stanza gave St. Louis some life.

After out-shooting the Blues 9-3 in the first period, the Kings absorbed more of the play in the second. St. Louis had an 11-7 edge in shots and inverted the scoring chances-for percentage from the first period.

The Kings did not allow much of a final push from St. Louis. With 5:30 left, Petersen made an authoritative glove save on defenseman Justin Faulk while fighting hard through a screen by forward David Perron.

The Blues pulled Binnington with 3:45 left to play. But St. Louis was largely limited to perimeter passes and shot attempts.

Kopitar was against the end boards of the defensive zone, but rather than icing the puck he iced the game when his long, high, backhanded flip of the puck ended up in the net for a nearly 200-foot goal with 1:40 left.

PASSING WAYNE

Doughty’s power-play goal was his 64th, passing Wayne Gretzky for ninth place in franchise history. Doughty has played 408 more games for the Kings than The Great One.

POWER PLAY GOAL DREW DOUGHTY 🚨🍀#GoKingsGo | @LAKings pic.twitter.com/wYfS8Pa6ix

— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) March 18, 2021

GRUNDSTROM BURIES IT 🚨🏒

2-0 @LAKings 🍀#GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/5Sl03V42E9

— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) March 18, 2021

SCORE BY MOORE 🚨

Feeling the luck at Staples 🍀🏒#GoKingsGo | @LAKings pic.twitter.com/xr19JjCcUm

— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) March 18, 2021

Hear from Todd McLellan as he wraps up the night at Staples 🎙🏒🍀#GoKingsGo | @LAKings pic.twitter.com/NNwpURx9G1

— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) March 18, 2021

WELCOME BACK JAD 👏@JimFox19 catches up with Jaret Anderson-Dolan postgame ⤵#GoKingsGo | @LAKings pic.twitter.com/Ai8NP6q5ZV

— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) March 18, 2021

From a distance! pic.twitter.com/FmV7JpIdCR

— LA Kings (@LAKings) March 18, 2021

“I thought our line was feelin’ it tonight” 🕺

Trevor Moore chats with the media after tonight’s big win 🏒🥅#GoKingsGo | @LAKings pic.twitter.com/2m1GJODXtO

— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) March 18, 2021

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Power-play success is the Kings’ one constant this season

The Kings have had enough of an up-and-down season to give their followers a bout of vertigo. They’ve had a league-best six-game win streak but two slumps that accounted for nine total losses. They have a three-goal comeback victory but three would-be wins squandered in the final minute of regulation. Their one constant has been the power play.

Even as they surrendered five goals through two periods against the Ducks on Monday night, a pair of power-play goals held them in a game in which they were faring poorly at even strength. They rallied to force overtime before losing, 6-5, and now have earned points in 11 of their last 13 games, despite that stretch including a four-game winless stretch and some costly errors.

Their power-play success has been largely unexpected, too, since the Kings finished among the most feeble units in the NHL with the man advantage last season.

Their 17.1 percent conversation rate was the sixth-worst in the league in 2019-20, and that was even after it started to produce more consistently late in the season. In 2021, the Kings are in the top 10 in power-play percentage and rising rapidly. They are in the top five in power-play goals scored, after finishing in a tie for the sixth-least last season.

On the other side of the special teams coin, the Kings have gone from the eighth-worst penalty kill last season to jockeying within or near the top 10 for most of this season.

“We’re making plays. We’re getting good goaltending. Our specialty teams are giving us a boost most nights,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said earlier this season. “Is that surprising? To us no, but maybe to the hockey world a little bit.”

The Kings have scored power-play goals in five consecutive games and have converted a whopping 36.8 percent of their opportunities during that span.

Veterans like winger Dustin Brown, center Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty have been prolific up a man or more. Brown has seven power-play goals, and only Dallas’ Joe Pavelski had more heading into Monday’s games. Brown’s career-best for a full season is 13, back in 2006-07.

Much like Pavelski, Kopitar is capable of playing any role in any area of the ice on the power play. He can play at the top of the umbrella, at either point, in the bumper position, on the wall, or at the net front, and he has done damage all over the offensive zone.

His 18 power-play points this season rank second in the league, and his exploits in the center of the ice have freed Doughty to roam along the wall more for higher-quality shooting opportunities. Doughty, through 24 games, is one shy of his power-play goal total from last season and has already equaled his man-advantage assist mark from all of last year.

Forward Adrian Kempe has carried his talent for zone entries over to this season and also proven dynamic beyond the blue line. With a power-play goal off a one-timer Monday, which was part of his second career hat trick, Kempe has already equaled his power-play point total and exceeded his power-play goal total from last season.

“I’ve been trying to hit the net a lot more than I did last year. I had some good chances last year, but if you don’t hit the net you don’t get that second opportunity,” Kempe said Monday. “This year I’ve also been working on my one-timer a lot.”

Where last season the Kings struggled to find five solid passers who worked well together consistently on the first unit, this season they have not one but two potent units. The two groups give distinct looks to opponents in terms of both entries and formations.

The most productive player who was consistently on the second unit in 2019-20 was defenseman Sean Walker, who produced five power-play points. This season, winger Alex Iafallo already has five, winger Jeff Carter has four, center Gabe Vilardi has three and center Jaret Anderson-Dolan has looked dangerous in limited opportunities as well.

That has been key, especially early in the season when penalties were up league-wide. Not only has a more efficient power play helped the Kings on the scoreboard, but it also prevented a lackluster group from draining momentum and weighing the team down five-on-five as it did at times last season.

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Kings done in by poor second period against Coyotes

  • Arizona Coyotes left wing Johan Larsson, left, and Kings left wing Andreas Athanasiou collide during the first period of Wednesday’s game at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Arizona Coyotes center Tyler Pitlick, left, tries to get a shot past Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick during the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Arizona Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta deflects a shot during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Kings defenseman Sean Walker, left, and Arizona Coyotes left wing Lawson Crouse fall as they go after the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, left, and Arizona Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz battle for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Arizona Coyotes right wing Conor Garland, left, tries to get a shot past Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick during the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, center, celebrates his goal with center Anze Kopitar, left, and right wing Alex Iafallo during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Arizona Coyotes Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Kings defenseman Sean Walker, right, takes the puck as Arizona Coyotes center Derick Brassard falls during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Kings center Trevor Moore, right, falls as Arizona Coyotes center Tyler Pitlick takes the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick can;t get his stick on a shot by Arizona Coyotes right wing Clayton Keller during the second period of Wednesday’s game at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Arizona Coyotes left wing Johan Larsson, left, celebrates his goal as Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick kneels in goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Arizona Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta, left, makes a glove save on a shot by Los Angeles Kings center Jeff Carter, right, as defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson watches during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Arizona Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta makes a glove save during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Arizona Coyotes center Michael Chaput, right, tries to redirect a shot past Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, left, as defenseman Olli Maatta defends during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Arizona Coyotes right wing Clayton Keller, left, dives for the puck while under pressure from Kings center Blake Lizotte during the third period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Los Angeles. The Coyotes won 3-2. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Arizona Coyotes center Christian Dvorak, left, tries to get a shot past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick during the third period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Los Angeles. The Coyotes won 3-2. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Kings center Jeff Carter, center, celebrates a goal by center Gabriel Vilardi as Arizona Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta, right, sits in goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Los Angeles. The Coyotes won 3-2. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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As the late John Wooden used to say, never mistake activity for achievement.

The Kings played an effortful game, started energetically, out-shot their opponent and carried play through the entire third period, but still lost to the Arizona Coyotes, 3-2, on Wednesday night at Staples Center.

Defenseman Drew Doughty and center Gabe Vilardi scored for the Kings. Goalie Jonathan Quick made 20 saves, holding the Coyotes in check until an explosive 3½-minute stretch of the second period when the Kings’ heretofore elite penalty kill sagged uncharacteristically.

“Our second-period performance wasn’t very good. We weren’t real sharp for a lot of the night,” said Kings coach Todd McLellan, who felt his team was slow with the puck, especially early on.

Winger Clayton Keller, forward Nick Schmaltz and winger Johan Larsson scored for Arizona. Antti Raanta was tabbed to protect the Coyotes’ net, and turned in a stellar performance making 40 saves. He did not start either of the prior meetings with the Kings but has dominated them over time. He entered Wednesday’s game with a 5-0-1 record, .957 save percentage, 1.32 goals-against average and three shutouts against the Kings in his career.

The third period featured the Kings generating offense and taking some risks, They put the first seven shots of the period on net and out-shot Arizona 18-4 in the final frame.

“It’s not easy to win playing from behind, but it’s easy to dominate the play (when) playing from behind. The team that’s winning has a tendency to sit back,” Doughty said.

A brilliant play at full speed by winger Andreas Athanasiou saw him pass the puck to himself between his legs, recover it, slip it past a defender, receive contact, collect the puck and flip it on goal.

“He’s a guy who skates fast, he can shoot the puck well and he has underrated passing ability,” Vilardi said. “He has great hands. It’s pretty cool, you don’t see that very often.”

Quick was not busy early in the third period, but he made a sprawling, momentum-shifting save on Arizona’s leading scorer Connor Garland with less than seven minutes left. His athletic pad save sent the Kings the other way, and soon after they closed the gap to a single goal.

It was defenseman Mikey Anderson sending a shot from the left point toward the high slot, where it was redirected deftly by Vilardi. The goal was initially credited to Jeff Carter, who was providing a screen in front of Raanta.

After killing a penalty late, the Kings sought the tying goal with Quick pulled, but they were unable to produce any significant threat and failed to earn a point for only the second time in 10 games. The Kings have lost three straight after a six-game winning streak.

Earlier, the game had plenty of intensity and pace but little in the way of flow and nothing in the way of offense for nearly its entire first half.

Then the power play units went to work.

Thirty-four seconds prior to the middle of the game, a failed clearing attempt let the Coyotes cook with some purposeful puck movement. A seam pass for Keller seemed to fool Quick, who looked toward the center of the ice and paused his push across, perhaps thinking there was a deflection of the pass or otherwise losing sight of the puck. It went directly to Keller, whose short-side wrister was his seventh goal of the season.

“Obviously our penalty kill let us down tonight, We made two critical mistakes and they capitalized on them,” McLellan said. “Our overall quarterback rating would be very poor tonight, whether or not it’s the passing part of it or just the clearing part.”

The Kings drew a penalty of their own and knotted the game off some sound, simple plays. Center Anze Kopitar moved the puck to Doughty, who slid it over for winger Adrian Kempe before the puck returned to Doughty for a one-time blast from above the right faceoff circle. The 13-year veteran continued the most productive start to a season of his career with his fourth power-play goal this season, which leads all NHL defensemen.

“I think (my power-play production) is just because I finally got on the flank. I’ve been playing in the middle of the power play for a long time,” Doughty said.

But the Kings again found themselves short-handed and, just 1:41 later, trailing anew as their fifth-ranked penalty kill was touched up for another goal.

Arizona moved into an umbrella formation with Schmaltz shifting high to present himself near the right point. He received the puck high and skated into the faceoff circle to let fly with a wrist shot that reclaimed the lead for the Coyotes. The goal was the third power-play score, including one by the Kings, in a 3:14 span of the second period.

The Coyotes struck again, this time at even strength, a mere 13 seconds later. Quick played the puck to defenseman Olli Maatta, whose pass to forward Michael Amadio failed to connect. Larsson pounced on the loose puck and zipped a shot past Quick before he was completely set and squared to the shooter.

“On the bench, it’s tough. You just get out there and right away they score another one. It’s a double blow,” Vilardi said.

The first period was scoreless with the highlight being consecutive saves of ascending difficulty made by Quick about seven minutes into the contest. He also later made a brilliant poke check effort to foil forward Tyler Pitlick, who had to make last-second adjustments prior to a point-blank shot that sailed over the net. Early in the second period, Quick made a confident glove save on Lawson Crouse’s shot from the slot and, later, a superb backdoor save on Larsson’s backdoor chance.

“We lost the game in the second (period),” Doughty said. “The two (penalty-kill) goals are both preventable. I thought we were sloppy in the second. We weren’t connecting on passes.”

DEWEY ON THE POWER PLAY

Doughty’s power-play goal was the 63rd of his career, which started in 2008. Only Montreal’s Shea Weber (91) has more man-advantage goals among NHL defensemen during that nearly 13-year span.

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Rickard Rakell, Adam Henrique score goals, but Ducks lose in overtime

  • Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, left, blocks the shot by Anaheim Ducks defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk in the overtime during a game at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, February 27, 2021. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Anaheim Ducks players celebrate center Adam Henrique ’s goal in the third period during a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, February 27, 2021. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson reacts after giving up a goal to Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson in the second period during a game at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, February 27, 2021. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson reacts after giving up a goal to Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson in the second period during a game at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, February 27, 2021. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Anaheim Ducks left wing Nicolas Deslauriers, left, shots pas Vegas Golden Knights right wing Keegan Kolesar during a game at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, February 27, 2021. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson reaches for the puck during a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, February 27, 2021. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras during a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, February 27, 2021. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Vegas Golden Knights team celebrate defenseman Alex Pietrangelo’s goal in the first period during a game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, February 27, 2021. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Anaheim Ducks defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, front, body checks Vegas Golden Knights right wing Keegan Kolesar during a game at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, February 27, 2021. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras during a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, February 27, 2021. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Anaheim Ducks center Adam Henrique, center, looks up to the video board during a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, February 27, 2021. Henrique returned to the team after clearing the waivers. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Anaheim Ducks center Rickard Rakell celebrates his goal in the first period with the bench during a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, February 27, 2021. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Anaheim Ducks center Adam Henrique enters the game before a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, February 27, 2021. Henrique joined the team after clearing the waivers. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Anaheim Ducks center Rickard Rakell shoots to score the goal in the first period during a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, February 27, 2021. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf, right, trips Vegas Golden Knights right wing Mark Stone during a game at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, February 27, 2021. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Anaheim Ducks center Rickard Rakell, center, celebrates his goal in the first period during a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, February 27, 2021. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Anaheim Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins, top, watches his players during a game at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, February 27, 2021. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Anaheim Ducks center Rickard Rakell, front, celebrates his goal in the first period during a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, February 27, 2021. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson, right, scores the game-winning goal past Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson in the overtime during a game at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, February 27, 2021. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

  • Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson, right, blocks the shot by Vegas Golden Knights right wing Alex Tuch in the overtime during a game at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday, February 27, 2021. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)

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ANAHEIM — Adam Henrique was the Ducks’ forgotten man for more than a week, after the Ducks placed him on waivers, after he went unclaimed, after he joined their taxi squad, and before he returned to their lineup for a 3-2 overtime loss Saturday to the Vegas Golden Knights at Honda Center.

“Brutal,” he said. “You’re put on that forgotten squad. You walk into the room and the next day it’s like everybody’s seen a ghost. I did what I had to do. Lineup decisions are out of my hands, so I just focused on controlling what I can control and that’s myself and my game and that’s it.”

Henrique scored the goal that sent the game to overtime tied 2-2, a close-range shot past Marc-Andre Fleury at 11:05 of the third period. The cheers of his teammates on the ice and on the bench pierced the quiet of the empty arena as he raised his arms in triumph.

It certainly would have made for a better story if Isac Lundestrom had beaten Fleury on one of his glorious scoring chances in OT or if William Karlsson hadn’t converted on a breakaway to win it for Vegas at 3:23 of the extra period. But the Ducks fell to 0-4-2 in their last six games.

“One point is not enough,” Henrique said. “It’s as simple as that, really.”

Henrique was credited with three shots on goal and 11 wins in 12 faceoffs while logging 14:43 of ice time. He skated between wingers Nicolas Deslauriers and Derek Grant to start the game and earned a promotion by the second period to play with Trevor Zegras and Jakob Silfverberg.

His mere presence seemed to ignite his teammates.

“I think the whole team was pumped to have ‘Rico’ back in the lineup,” Rickard Rakell said, referring to Henrique by his nickname. “We were even happier because he was the one who tied the game up for us, so he feels like he’s a part of the progress and helping the team.

“Hopefully, it gives all of us a boost.”

Rakell ended a 14-game drought without a goal when he scored 10:09 into the first period, smiling broadly and celebrating with his teammates, a mixture of joy and relief spreading across his face after he gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead that they failed to maintain by period’s end.

“It’s easy to get frustrated, and it has been a frustrating time, especially since I felt I had the scoring chances and had the shots on net,” Rakell said. “Just that final touch to make the puck go in hasn’t been going my way. I can look at the past and be really frustrated by it.

“Or I can take it game by game and try to improve and try to do something about it.”

The Ducks played a crisp game, all things considered. Their passes hit their intended targets. They had plenty of scoring chances. Their checking was sound. The second-to-last-place Ducks (6-10-5) certainly weren’t outplayed by the West Division-leading Golden Knights (12-4-1).

Ducks coach Dallas Eakins welcomed defenseman Hampus Lindholm back from a three-game layoff because of an unspecified lower body injury. The Ducks were 0-2-1 without Lindholm, who was reunited with Kevin Shattenkirk, his regular defense partner.

Despite the changes, the new-look Ducks took halting steps at the start and were outshot 5-0 in the opening minutes. They regrouped, though, and Rakell gave them a 1-0 lead midway through the first period, his first goal since Jan. 24 against the Colorado Avalanche.

There were plenty of chances to extend their lead, but the Ducks failed to convert them into goals, and by the end of an evenly-played second period, they trailed 2-1 after Alex Pietrangelo, at 16:28 of the first, and Karlsson, at 9:10 of the second, scored for Vegas.

“Overall, we played hard,” Eakins said. “That’s some steep competition over there. I thought maybe we could have been more assertive early. Eventually, we got our feet underneath us and started believing a little bit more in ourselves. We played a hard game, a gritty one to tie that up.”

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Cal Petersen helps Kings extend win streak to 6 games

  • The Kings’ Olli Maatta controls the puck while under pressure from the Blues’ Ryan O’Reilly, right, and David Perron during the first period of Wednesday’s gamer in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

  • FILE – St. Louis Blues’ Ivan Barbashev (49) handles the puck against the Los Angeles Kings during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Los Angeles, in this Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, file photo. The banged-up St. Louis Blues got more bad injury news Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, with word that defenseman Carl Gunnarsson won’t play again this season and forward Ivan Barbashev is out at least six weeks.(AP Photo/Joe Puetz, File)

  • The Kings’ Gabe Vilardi works with the puck next to the Blues’ Mike Hoffman during the first period of Wednesday’s game in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

  • St. Louis Blues’ Torey Krug (47) controls the puck in front of Los Angeles Kings’ Jeff Carter (77) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday Feb. 24, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

  • St. Louis Blues’ Austin Poganski (53) and the Kings’ Gabe Vilardi (13) reach for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday Feb. 24, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

  • St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) stops a shot during the first period of the team’s NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday Feb. 24, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

  • St. Louis Blues’ Vince Dunn (29) passes the puck in front of teammate Robert Bortuzzo and Los Angeles Kings’ Andreas Athanasiou (22) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday Feb. 24, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

  • The Kings’ Jeff Carter (77) handles the puck next to St. Louis Blues’ Brayden Schenn (10) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday Feb. 24, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

  • Kings goaltender Cal Petersen protects the goal as St. Louis Blues’ Mackenzie MacEachern (28) looks to pass the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

  • St. Louis Blues’ Jordan Kyrou (25) handles the puck while the Kings’ Tobias Bjornfot (33) defends during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

  • St. Louis Blues’ Brayden Schenn (10) handles the puck while under pressure from the Kings’ Tobias Bjornfot (33) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

  • St. Louis Blues’ Jordan Kyrou (25) handles the puck while the Kings’ Tobias Bjornfot (33) defends during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

  • Kings goaltender Cal Petersen blocks a shot from St. Louis Blues’ Oskar Sundqvist (70) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

  • St. Louis Blues’ Brayden Schenn (10) handles the puck while under pressure from the Kings’ Matt Roy (3) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

  • The Blues’ Oskar Sundqvist (70) looks for a shot on Kings goaltender Cal Petersen during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

  • The Kings’ Blake Lizotte (46) and St. Louis Blues’ Zach Sanford (12) vie for the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

  • The Kings’ Blake Lizotte (46) controls the puck while under pressure from St. Louis Blues’ Marco Scandella (6) while goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) watches during the third period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

  • The Blues’ Marco Scandella (6) is assisted by Sammy Blais (9) and linesman Ryan Gibbons (58) after being injured during the third period of the team’s NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

  • The Blues’ Justin Faulk (72) pressures the Kings’ Michael Amadio (10) during the third period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

  • Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington blocks a shot during the third period of the team’s NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

  • Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) blocks the puck on a shot by Los Angeles Kings’ Andreas Athanasiou (22) as Blues’ Vince Dunn (29) defends during the third period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

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The Kings are the hottest team in the NHL.

Yes, the Los Angeles Kings.

Their six-game winning streak is the league’s longest, after they beat the St. Louis Blues, 2-1, in front of about 2,500 fans on Wednesday night at Enterprise Center.

Coach Todd McLellan has the Kings on the verge of matching their longest unbeaten stretch of the past two seasons and two victories shy of their eight-game surge of 2017-18.

He said the team still had room to grow, and goalie Cal Petersen said he and his teammates are taking the same measured approach to games.

“Guys are playing how we expect them to play and doing their jobs,” Petersen said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves.”

Wingers Alex Iafallo and Andreas Athanasiou scored second-period goals for the Kings, and Petersen made 35 saves to improve to 3-0-1 in his last four starts. He and Jonathan Quick have split the six victories during the surge evenly.

“When one goalie is playing well, it helps the other goalie play even better,” Petersen said. “I think that’s holding true.”

Forward Oskar Sundqvist scored for the Blues and goalie Jordan Binnington made 19 saves for the Blues, who fell to 1-5-1 in their last seven home games.

With 1:46 left, Sundqvist broke up the shutout, which would have given the Kings the longest scoreless streak in the NHL and two straight shutouts. The Blues drew no closer with Binnington again pulled for the extra attacker.

There was a bizarre moment, or string of moments, in the third period during which the Blues sustained possession for well over three minutes during a delayed penalty. Both teams made at least one line change before the Kings were able to finally touch the puck.

The Kings showed their mettle during the delayed penalty, Petersen said.

“It’s obviously unique,” said Petersen, who lauded his penalty killers for staying in their structure. “We kind of held on for dear life. It didn’t feel really too chaotic despite the long time for it.”

St. Louis entered the series against the Kings with six players out of their lineup. In the first game, they also lost defenseman Carl Gunnarsson for the season to a knee injury. Early in the third period, a cut to the face of defenseman Marco Scandella, caused by a puck off the boards, forced him out of action.

The Kings doubled their advantage with 3:52 left in the second period. Austin Wagner curled the puck back and left a drop pass for a driving Athanasiou, who let fly with his fourth goal of the season.

Defenseman Kurtis MacDermid had the secondary assist. He drew into the lineup for Mikey Anderson, who was a late scratch due to a lower-body injury he sustained in his previous game. McLellan said the injury was not severe.

Olli Maatta returned to the top pairing in Anderson’s stead.

“They were a real solid pairing for 30 minutes tonight and Olli was a big part of that,” McLellan said.

Once again, the Kings scored first, just past the midpoint of the middle frame. They have not faced a deficit in any of their last six games.

Dustin Brown received the puck and aimed far side. He banged the puck off Binnington’s right pad, and Iafallo crashed the net to pop in the rebound with 10:24 left. It was his fourth goal in his last six games and his eighth point in as many contests.

The first period saw the Blues out-shoot the Kings 11-5, but Petersen was up to the challenge. He stopped defenseman Vince Dunn and winger Zach Sanford on solid chances following Kings giveaways.

Petersen also denied forward Jordan Kyrou from point-blank range off a give-and-go play. In the second period, he stoned Kyrou again, swallowing up his one-timer from the left face-off circle.

“Our goaltender made some big saves for us,” McLellan said. “I don’t think we had a real good game from the get-go tonight, to tell you the truth. We just weren’t good with the puck. I didn’t think we were near as sharp with the puck as we were two nights ago. Some of that has to do with how St. Louis played.”

The Kings next head to Minnesota. The Wild are (along with Edmonton) the league’s next hottest team with four consecutive victories.

Iafallo with his 6th of the season. Kings up 1-0 halfway through the 2nd. pic.twitter.com/3qyKCOVpjI

— LA Kings (@LAKings) February 25, 2021

That little drop pass, though.

Just lovely.

🇺🇸: https://t.co/vcXw5KTFbK @NHLonNBCSports #WNH pic.twitter.com/3JroDStbGM

— NHL (@NHL) February 25, 2021

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Jonathan Quick, Kings stifle Wild with surging special teams

  • Los Angeles Kings defenseman Tobias Bjornfot, left, and Minnesota Wild left wing Jordan Greenway vie for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Minnesota Wild left wing Marcus Foligno, top, trips over Los Angeles Kings defenseman Mikey Anderson during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Kings center Jaret Anderson-Dolan, left, scores on Minnesota Wild goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Minnesota Wild center Luke Johnson, top, goes after the puck as Los Angeles Kings left wing Austin Wagner falls during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Kings center Jaret Anderson-Dolan, left, is congratulated by center Jeff Carter after scoring during the first period of the team’s NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Minnesota Wild goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen stops a shot during the first period of the team’s NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Kings defenseman Tobias Bjornfot, left, and Minnesota Wild left wing Jordan Greenway fall to the ice during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Minnesota Wild center Marcus Johansson, below, falls as he vied for the puck with Los Angeles Kings right wing Adrian Kempe during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick deflects a shot during the second period of Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild at Staples Center. Quick had 28 saves in a 4-0 win. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Minnesota Wild left wing Ryan Hartman, left, tries to pass the puck as Los Angeles Kings center Gabriel Vilardi reaches in during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Minnesota Wild goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen, left, gives up a goal to Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown as Kings center Anze Kopitar, right, watches during the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Los Angeles. The Kings won 4-0. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown, center, celebrates his goal agains the Minnesota Wild with center Anze Kopitar, left, and defenseman Drew Doughty during the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Minnesota Wild center Luke Johnson, left, and right wing Gerald Mayhew, right, compete for the puck with Los Angeles Kings left wing Austin Wagner during the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Los Angeles. The Kings won 4-0. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick stops a shot during the third period of the team’s NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Los Angeles. The Kings won 4-0. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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History did not repeat itself for the Kings on Tuesday night, when they successfully protected a two-goal, second-intermission lead against the Minnesota Wild and earned a 4-0 victory at Staples Center.

The Kings led by two goals after 40 minutes in their first two Staples meetings with the Wild, only to cede tying goals in regulation and Minnesota game-winners in overtime. In between the teams split a pair of games in Minnesota in an impromptu rivalry that is gaining steam thanks to this season’s realignment and some sinewy matches so far.

This marked the second time this season that the Kings have won consecutive games.

“They earned the right to win the games,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “Our lines are starting to gel a little bit.”

Forwards Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Trevor Moore and Dustin Brown found the net for the Kings on Tuesday. Defenseman Drew Doughty added an empty-netter. Jonathan Quick was in goal for the first time in four games, making 28 saves in the Kings’ first shutout of the season and the 53rd of his career, extending his franchise record.

“When you get a shutout, it’s more usually on the team than the goalie,” Quick said. “I’ve been fortunate to be on a lot of good teams here.”

Did Quick, who had not won since Jan.24, enter the game with anything to prove?

“No,” Quick said.

Minnesota goalie Kappo Kahkonen stopped 25 of 28 Kings shots.

Coming off six postponed games due to a COVID-19 outbreak, Minnesota was still without multiple defensemen and forwards, as well as top goalie Cam Talbot due to a combination of COVID-19 protocol-related absences and injuries. Forward Mats Zuccarello made his season debut, having recovered from a surgery on his arm.

The first period belonged to the Kings as undermanned Minnesota also found itself short-handed twice. The hosts outshot the Wild 9-3 in the period and scored on their first power-play opportunity 3:36 into the game.

Defenseman Matt Roy, who played his first game since he sustained an upper-body injury against the Wild on Jan. 28, kept a clearing attempt in the zone and moved the puck ahead to forward Gabe Vilardi. He found Jeff Carter in space, who sucked the defense in and sent a pass across to a wide-open Anderson-Dolan. It was the rookie’s first career power-play goal.

“We wanted to have a good heavy start,” McLellan said. “We scored on the power play and that certainly helped.”

Doughty hit the post, while Matt Luff and Moore had partial breakaways in the first half of the game, though those chances went for naught.

But Moore made no mistake when he doubled the Kings’ lead with just under eight minutes to play in the middle frame. He was the beneficiary of a remarkable individual effort in transition by Anderson-Dolan, who rushed up the right-wing wall from faceoff dot to faceoff dot before his backhand pass through traffic found Moore uncovered.

“I just had some time and space. Things kind of just opened up and I saw Trevor in a good spot, backside there,” Anderson-Dolan said, adding that he was gaining confidence as each game passed.

Minnesota drew three penalties in the second period, but the Kings killed all three to enter the second intermission with a 2-0 lead. The Wild have not scored on any of their 21 power plays against the Kings this season.

Both sides of the special teams game have been excellent for the Kings, who are averaging one power-play goal per game and have become stalwarts on the penalty kill. The Kings have five power-play goals in their last three games, and they have scored with the man-advantage in nine of their 14 games.

They are on the cusp of joining or supplanting one of the three teams league-wide that is in the top 10 in both power-play conversion rate and penalty-kill percentage. The other three are all Cup contenders: preseason favorite Colorado, perennially competitive Boston and defending champion Tampa Bay.

The Kings weathered some shaky moments early in the third, and throughout the period Quick was up to the task as Minnesota raised the temperature of its game. He was aided by defenseman Mikey Anderson, who made a goal-saving play. Center Anze Kopitar had a partial breakaway denied by Kahkonen’s glove.

Quick’s 25th save might have been his most spectacular. With just under six minutes remaining, he pushed across and lunged forward just as Zuccarello was sweeping a backdoor one-timer toward the net. Quick’s pad denied the shot comfortably to preserve his shutout.

With 3:04 left, the Kings stuck the dagger into the Wild. Their effort on the forecheck allowed Kopitar and Brown to outnumber a lone Wild defender, Ryan Suter. Kopitar strode toward the net to draw Kahkonen to the near post, then slid a pass across for Brown’s shot into an open net.

“It took their two-goal belief, probably, away and it settled us down,” McLellan said.

Inside the final minute, Doughty hit the empty net from more than 150 feet away to stretch the lead to four.

Perrrrrrfect goes @JonathanQuick32 to pick up the @pepsi shutout with 28 saves on the night. pic.twitter.com/tAdv9AMnqc

— NHL (@NHL) February 17, 2021

“They earned the right to win the games and they got rewarded for them so that makes everybody feel good.”

Todd McLellan on the @LAKings back-to-back wins 🏒#GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/zMgbfP2YwX

— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) February 17, 2021

STANDING O FOR THIS GUY 👏@JonathanQuick32 chats with the media postgame. #GoKingsGo | @LAKings pic.twitter.com/h7jxJylwHe

— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) February 17, 2021

Jaret Anderson-Dolan is gonna get things rolling for the @LAKings. pic.twitter.com/YTThsASW6E

— NHL (@NHL) February 17, 2021

Jaret Anderson-Dolan addresses the media after “playing out of his mind” tonight! (@trevmoore08 words, not his 🙃) #GoKingsGo | @LAKings pic.twitter.com/1lEBhGOoT5

— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) February 17, 2021

Tonight he got his 1st goal of the season and now @trevmoore08 stops by to chat with @CarrlynBathe following a solid team win!#GoKingsGo | @LAKings pic.twitter.com/6OaqUP4sGi

— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) February 17, 2021

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