The Kings talked about shifting into desperation mode after the 19-day Olympic break ended last week. Then they went out and practiced what they preached with victories Wednesday over Colorado and Thursday over Calgary. Their latest victory, a grinding 3-1 decision Saturday afternoon over the Carolina Hurricanes at Staples Center, was more of the same type of no-frills hockey the Kings displayed while defeating the Avalanche and Flames. Saturday’s game was tedious at times, but there are no style points to be awarded at this time of the season, especially for teams like the Kings, who are caught near the back of the pack in the race for the playoff berths in the Western Conference. The Kings, seventh in the West before the game, have been down this path before and they’re comfortable with their precarious position at this stage of the season. Defenseman Alec Martinez recalled they didn’t clinch a playoff spot until the second-to-last regular-season game in 2011-12. They went on to win the franchise’s first Stanley Cup championship. So, anything’s possible as long as the Kings (34-22-6) play a determined style. Their hearts and minds certainly were in the right places while facing the Hurricanes, with Martinez recording the go-ahead goal on a power play at 8 minutes, 15 seconds of the third period. “We’re all experienced,” Martinez said. “We all know what it takes. It’s a matter of doing it. You’ve got to play playoff hockey going into the playoffs. You can’t just flip a switch. The year we won it, that’s what we did. That’s what we’ve got to do now.” Wringing more goals from their power-play unit is a step in the right direction for the Kings, who went into the game 27th in the 30-team league while on the man-advantage. They looked disorganized during five power plays before Martinez ripped a shot from the high slot into the net. “Huge goal,” Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick said of Martinez’s fifth of the season. “Obviously, that’s what you guys (reporters) will talk about, but he played really well in our end and made some big plays, breaking up plays in our end. He played good for us.” Mike Richards and Justin Williams also scored for the Kings, and Quick made 24 saves. Andrej Sekera scored the Hurricanes’ lone goal, only 41 seconds after Richards gave the Kings a 1-0 lead with his first goal in 13 games, inside the final minute of the opening period. After a scoreless second period, Martinez put the Kings ahead 2-1 and they played the familiar defensive clamp-down style that’s been their trademark since their run to the Stanley Cup in 2011-12. The Hurricanes’ scoring chances were few and far between in the second half of the game.
Kings grind out victory over Hurricanes
L.A. Daily News | Mar 2