LA Kings Viktor Arvidsson

Going into tonight’s game, it was do or die for the LA Kings, as they were riding a two-game losing streak with their Pacific Division rivals inching their way closer to them in the standings.

It started similar to the last game, with the Kings dominating the puck possession and quality scoring chances; however, they failed to score in the first period, as did the Columbus Blue Jackets.

In the second period, Trevor Moore won an offensive zone faceoff back to the top of the circle, where Viktor Arvidsson retrieved and sniped it to take the 1-0 lead and open the scoring.

Shortly after, the Blue Jackets scored three straight goals in a span of… 86 seconds. They set a franchise record for the three quickest goals in franchise history. So yeah, not ideal.

In the third period, Dustin Brown fired a squeaker past Elvis Merzlikins to put the Kings within shouting distance, and Viktor Arvidsson scored his second of the night later in the final frame.

The two teams went into overtime tied 3-3, with the Blue Jackets flaunting an intimidating 9-1 record in extra time this season.

It appeared as though Boone Jenner had scored the game-winning goal, but after further review, it was shown that it was offside, which kept the game going.

After that, Arvidsson found himself on a breakaway and dangled Merzlikins into submission to bury the game-winning goal and give the Kings their 30th win of the 2021-22 season.

“We have character in the room and people who want to win and know what it takes to win,” Arvidsson told media in the post-game presser on the come from behind victory.

“[McLellan] just texted me saying they don’t want to do it the easy way,” interim head coach Trent Yawney laughed following the game.

“I think the league is like that, you’re never out of it.”

Three takeaways from Friday’s OT win:

1. Arvidsson with his first hat-trick with the LA Kings

As mentioned, Arvidsson finished the game with a hat-trick, his first in Los Angeles and fourth of his NHL career, which undoubtedly turned the tides in this comeback.

“I think I’ve been creating chances the whole season, just haven’t been able to put them in the back of the net, and tonight they went in,” Arvidsson said on the game.

“Well, it’s nice to have him on your team because I remember when I was in Anaheim, he was in a yellow sweater, and he used to do that a lot,” Yawney laughed when asked about Arvidsson.

Arvidsson is now up to 18 goals on the season, compared to his just ten goals last season.

2. Jaret Anderson-Dolan with a solid return to the NHL lineup

He may not have contributed on the scoresheet, but Jaret Anderson-Dolan looked nice in his return to the NHL lineup last night.

Anderson-Dolan played 16:09 and managed one blocked shot with a 60.40 xG% and 0.57 xGF. He stood out the most out of any LA Kings player in the first period, nearly scoring on his first shift.

“I thought JAD was really good. It’s his first game, but I thought he skated well,” Yawney said.

3. What do you do with Dustin Brown?

The topic amongst Kings fans last night before and after the game was Dustin Brown, and he made it even more interesting by scoring his first even-strength goal since January 6th.

Some want to see him in a reduced role. Others want him to remain in the top-nine for his veteran’s presence. Despite him getting on the board, I have to agree with reducing his role.

Brown didn’t really look great last night, and his lone goal was more on Merzlikins than a testament to Brown’s talents. “I don’t know what I was doing. I messed up,” Merzlikins said on the goal. Brad Larsen, the Blue Jackets head coach also noted that it gave the Kings life and was a difference-maker, obviously showing he didn’t think it was a great goal.

Brown was dead last on the Kings in expected goal percentage, with a 41.07%. I think it’s time to fully remove him from the power play and move him onto the fourth line.

The LA Kings are back at it from Buffalo on Sunday, with puck drop set for a very early 10 am PT. The only question is will you have breakfast or lunch with the game?

What should the LA Kings do with Dustin Brown?

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