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Quick, Martinez step up as Kings show signs of life

Quick, Martinez step up as Kings show signs of life
Published On: Mon, Dec 03
Dec 2, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez (27) tries to move the puck away from the Kings goal during third period action at Staples Center. At right is Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32). The Kings won 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings, who entered Sunday nighta€™s game as the NHLa€™s lowest-scoring team, met the next-to-worst scoring team, the Carolina Hurricanes, and managed to claw out a 2-0 victory Sunday night at Staples Center thanks mainly to the superb goaltending of Jonathan Quick.

After the Kings won an offensive-zone faceoff, defenseman Alec Martinez drove to the net and redirected a pass from Jake Muzzin past Carolina goaltender Petr Mrazek with 2 minutes 13 seconds left in the third period. Kyle Clifford almost walked the puck into the empty net with 53 seconds left to clinch the victory, which was made possible by the sharp and confident performance from Quick.

The two-time Stanley Cup winner, who has been limited to six games this season because of knee surgery, kept the Kings in a plodding game by making 34 saves, highlighted by a nimble pad stop on Lucas Wallmark from point-blank range during the second period and strong work during a two-man advantage Carolina gained for 91 seconds in the third period. This was, remarkably, his first victory this season.

a€œHe was incredible,a€ Martinez said after Quicka€™s first shutout of the season and the 50th of Quicka€™s career. a€œWe wouldna€™t have been in contention if not for him.a€

The victory provided the Kings a happy ending to a day that began with news of more injuries. Winger Ilya Kovalchuk underwent an ankle bursectomy on Sunday, a procedure that removed the inflamed bursa sac in his foot, and hea€™s expected to be out for four weeks. He had five goals and 14 points in his first 14 games but had gone 11 games without a point and had been getting little ice time from interim coach Willie Desjardins. In addition, forward Adrian Kempe was scratched from Sundaya€™s lineup because of what was called an upper-body injury. Hea€™s day to day. Desjardins used a lineup that included seven defensemen and 11 forwards, and the end result was the 19th time in 27 games this season the Kings had two goals or fewer.

Before the news about Kovalchuk and Kempe became public the Kings claimed winger Nikita Scherbak, a 2014 first-round draft pick, off waivers from the Montreal Canadiens. Intrigued by his speed and recognizing the teama€™s shortcomings in that area, general manager Rob Blake risked little by picking up the Russian winger, who will be 23 later this month. Scherbak was sent to the minor leagues after he couldna€™t crack Montreala€™s lineup out of training camp and he was on injured reserve because of a lower-body injury. Ita€™s not clear when he will be able to join the Kings or when he will be fit to play.

Read the complete news article here...

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