MONTREAL — The Kings exorcised decades’ worth of demons Tuesday with a 6-0 victory over the Canadiens at the Bell Center, turning what was supposed to be a defensive battle between two of the NHL’s top defensive teams into their first shutout of the Canadiens in franchise history and first win here in almost 14 years.
Goaltender Martin Jones stopped 31 shots to improve to 3-0, again showing his poise by repelling seven shots during an early Montreal power play. Winger Tyler Toffoli — who was 7 years old when the Kings previously left Montreal with a triumph, on Dec. 11, 1999 — and center Anze Kopitar each contributed a goal and an assist as the Kings picked apart the Canadiens' defense with stunning ease. Montreal had won its previous five games.
The Kings (20-7-4) held an opponent to two goals or fewer for the 16th straight game. Their record is 11-1-4 in that span. They’ve also haven’t allowed a first-period goal in any of those games. They will complete a back-to-back sequence on Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Center.
On Tuesday they chased Montreal goaltender Carey Price, who’s considered a top contender for the Canadian Olympic starting job, when Toffoli buried the rebound of a shot by Kyle Clifford at 5:28 of the second period. Peter Budaj replaced Price and gave up a power-play goal by Jake Muzzin, the Kings’ first goal with a man advantage in 35 attempts stretching back to Nov. 19.
The rout began when Jordan Nolan, on the rebound of a shot by Willie Mitchell, and Kopitar, following a faceoff win in the Montreal zone, gave the Kings a 2-0 lead in the first period. They poured it on in the second period, with Alec Martinez converting a rebound for his first goal this season, Toffoli scoring off Clifford’s rebound, Muzzin beating Budaj to the stick side and Justin Williams slipping in a backhander to trigger a chorus of boos.
Kings defenseman Matt Greene was activated from injured reserve and took part in the pregame warmups but did not play. To keep the Kings under the salary cap, goaltender Jonathan Quick was moved to the long-term injured reserve list.
Separately, the Buffalo Sabres requested permission from the Kings to interview Michael Futa, the Kings’ co-director of amateur scouting, for the vacant Buffalo general manager’s job. A Kings executive said Tuesday the request is under consideration. Buffalo’s interest in Futa was first reported by TSN’s Bob McKenzie.