MONTREAL — Still glistening with moisture, the game puck from Martin Jones' second consecutive shutout sat behind him in the Kings' locker room at the Bell Center on Tuesday. Someone had grabbed it as a souvenir after the team's 6-0 rout, a gesture that created a pleasant problem for the young goaltender.
"I've got a stockpile of pucks now," Jones said. "I've got to find something to do with them."
At this rate, Jones might consider buying an extra-large trophy case.
In weathering a furious Montreal power-play attack early and making 31 saves overall, Jones got his name on the Kings' first shutout of the Montreal Canadiens in franchise history. He didn't know that none of the 63 men who preceded him in goal for the Kings had done what he did in his third NHL start. He didn't know the Kings hadn't won in Montreal since Dec. 11, 1999.
It was probably just as well he didn't.
"Exactly," a smiling Jones said after becoming the first Kings rookie goalie to record consecutive shutouts since Gerry Desjardins in the 1968-69 season.
"It's a nice little stat, I guess. We're just happy with the win."
Anze Kopitar, Tyler Toffoli and Alec Martinez each contributed a goal and an assist as the Kings chased Montreal starter Carey Price for the first time this season by picking apart the Canadiens' defense to score four times on 16 shots against him. The Kings even broke an 0-for-34 power-play slump when Jake Muzzin was set up by Jarret Stoll in the second period.
"It was a great win for our team. A full team effort," Stoll said.
But it wouldn't have been possible without Jones' strong performance in the early going, which became the foundation for the Kings' triumph and 16th straight game in which they've given up two goals or fewer. They're 10-3-2 on the road this season, their best record at this stage in team history.
Drew Doughty took a tripping penalty 38 seconds into the game, unleashing a Montreal power play that produced seven dangerous shots. Alex Galchenyuk accounted for three. Jones, who made his NHL debut Dec. 3 in a nine-round shootout victory at Anaheim and followed that with a 16-save blanking of the New York Islanders on Saturday, passed this test too.
Penalty kills that resulted from calls against Justin Williams at 12:36 and Robyn Regehr at 16:38 were less eventful for the Kings, who had taken a 1-0 lead at 7:03 after Jordan Nolan converted the rebound of a shot by Willie Mitchell.
"Jonesy kept us in it in the first period with those three penalty kills and that was basically the story of the game," Stoll said. "Yeah, we got goals, but that was the moment of the game for Jonesy."
Kopitar's one-timer off a faceoff win with 13 seconds remaining in the second period gave the Kings a 2-0 lead; they padded that on Martinez's rebound of a shot by Toffoli before Price was replaced by Peter Budaj. Muzzin beat Budaj stick-side at 8:14 of the second period and Williams was set up by Stoll for the final goal, at 18:28 of the second period.
Jones, who was so good that he was awarded an additional save when scorekeepers reviewed the shots long after the game ended, appreciated that his teammates maintained their energy in the third period even though they must play again Wednesday, at Toronto.
"We had that six-goal lead and guys continued to block shots and get in lanes and take away sticks in front of the net," he said.
Because they did, Jones and the Kings made history. "It's pretty neat," Coach Darryl Sutter said.
It was better than that, though Williams cautioned against reading too much into a single victory.
"You've got to enjoy the times it's going good," Williams said, "but you've got to realize why it's going good."
Jones' growing puck stockpile is one of those reasons.
Defenseman Matt Greene was activated from injured reserve but did not play. To stay beneath the salary cap, the Kings shifted goalie Jonathan Quick to long-term injured reserve…. Jeff Solomon, the Kings' vice president of hockey operations, said club executives are considering the Buffalo Sabres' request to speak to Michael Futa, the Kings' co-director of amateur scouting, for the Sabres' vacant general manager position. Buffalo's interest in Futa was first reported by TSN's Bob McKenzie.
When: 4:30 PST.
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 1150.
Etc.: The Kings haven't lost in Toronto since Nov. 12, 2002. However, because of the quirky NHL schedule, they've visited Toronto only three times since that overtime loss and won all three games. The Maple Leafs won't have defenseman and team captain Dion Phaneuf, who was suspended two games by the NHL for a boarding infraction against Boston's Kevan Miller.
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