Quick helps Kings crown Canadiens
MONTREAL — Jonathan Quick made a season-high 40 saves in his 500th NHL game as the Los Angeles Kings blanked the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 on Thursday night at the Bell Centre.
Quick posted his 46th career shutout and second of the year as the Kings swept the season series and improved to 8-1-1. Los Angeles posted a 5-1 home win over Montreal last week.
“They kept fighting though. It’s not like they gave up,” Quick noted, when asked about the home crowd booing the Canadiens. “They were fighting until the end. It’s unfortunate and probably not so deserving for Price. He’s arguably the best goalie in the world so you hate to see that happen to him.”
Rookie Adrian Kempe, Tyler Toffoli, Anze Kopitar and Kurtis MacDermid scored for Los Angeles.
Carey Price made 24 saves as Montreal dropped to 2-7-1 and was shut out for the second time this season.
“For me, I’ve just got to focus on my job,” Price said after the game. “You know, I’ve just got to find ways to stop the puck and keep our guys in it until we bury the puck. It just seems I’m not doing that right now, so I’ve just got to find a way to do it.”
The first period started as an evenly matched affair, with the Canadiens and Kings trading chances. Montreal outshot L.A. 16-8 in the opening 20 minutes.
But the Kings trailed 2-0 after allowing two goals in a span of 11 seconds.
“If they score the first goal, we have to figure out a way to regroup,” Montreal blue-liner Jeff Petry said. “I can think of a few games that they’ve gotten two in a row, or scored two quick ones. I think it’s something that we need to work on.”
With 1:01 to go in the first period, a defensive turnover led to Kempe tipping in a Derek Forbort point shot to put the Kings up 1-0 for his sixth goal of the season.
Just 11 seconds later, Montreal rookie defenseman Victor Mete turned the puck over to Toffoli, who scored an unassisted goal, his third of the season.
Late in the first period, forward Nikita Scherbak headed to the Habs’ locker room, favoring his right leg. Earlier in the period, Scherbak fell awkwardly into the boards, injuring his right leg in the process. The right winger headed off with a limp but returned a few minutes later.
Scherbak was on the Canadiens’ bench to start the second period and tried to play through the pain but eventually left the game before the club announced that he would not return.
Scherbak, a recent AHL call-up from the Laval Rocket, has only played in one other game with the Canadiens this season.
Thirty-five seconds into the second, Forbort took an interference penalty, giving the Canadiens their first power play opportunity of the game. The Habs managed to get two shots on Quick during their two minutes with the extra attacker.
Kings captain Dustin Brown then took a two-minute high-sticking penalty. The league’s 26th ranked power play wasn’t able to beat Quick though, keeping the score 2-0 in favor of the Kings.
With 22 seconds left during a four-on-four, Kopitar fired a shot from the far circle on Price, beating him top corner and giving the Kings a 3-0 lead with 5:25 remaining.
It was Kopitar’s team-leading seventh goal of the season.
“We just wanted to come in and make sure that we have a good start and just get off on the right foot,” Kopitar told reporters after the game. “I thought we had a good start, and Quickie was there to back us up.
“Obviously, those two goals at the end of the (first) period were very deflating I can imagine for the other team, and gave us momentum going into the second.”
At 3:58 of the third, MacDermid, playing in his fifth career NHL game, received a pass from partner Drew Doughty and lobbed a shot from the point at even strength on Price, scoring his first NHL goal while giving the Kings a four-goal lead and clinching their third straight win.
“I just got the pass across from Drew (Doughty) and was just looking to get it on net,” the rookie defender said with a smile. “There was a deflection and it just happened to go in. You know, it was pretty special.”
Next up for the Kings is the Bruins as they continue their road trip in Boston on Saturday afternoon. The Habs, meanwhile, close out their three-game homestand Saturday night when they host the New York Rangers at the Bell Centre.
NOTES: Kings LW Adrian Kempe scored his sixth goal, good enough for second on the team, behind only C Anze Kopitar. Kopitar scored his seventh goal of the season. ... The Kings recalled C Michael Amadio from the AHL’s Ontario Reign. The 21-year old played 9:04 in his NHL debut. ... G Carey Price made his 518th career start in goal for the Canadiens, seventh most among active NHL goaltenders. ... Canadiens RW Brendan Gallagher, who earned his 100th career assist against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night, was held off the score sheet for the sixth time this season. ... LW Max Pacioretty led Montreal with eight of the team’s 40 shots on goal Thursday night.