Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 11/29/11
Much of what the Los Angeles Kings had preached over the previous several days was put into practice during a competitive 2-0 win over the San Jose Sharks at STAPLES Center Monday night. While three of the lines were adjusted significantly, it was the intact fourth line that set the tone for one of the strongest first periods at home this season as Los Angeles outshot San Jose 16-11 and came out with a high compete level. Ethan Moreau, Colin Fraser and Kevin Westgarth battled and had chances in the offensive zone in each of their first two shifts, eventually cashing in at 8:37 in when Moreau happened to snap the puck towards the front of the net from a sharp angle, scoring on a deflection off Antti Niemi's glove and representing the improved shot mentality that had been discussed at practices. "That'll be the message tomorrow keep getting pucks in, keep putting it on net, go to the net, hang out at the blue paint and good things will happen for you," head coach Terry Murray said. The other three lines followed suit, feeding off the energy of the Moreau-Fraser-Westgarth line and displaying a versatile, two-way effort that at times was both fairly open two of the league's better defensive teams combined for 66 shots on goal yet also compact and rugged, as the Kings blocked 19 shots and were able to use their sticks and bodies to disrupt passing lanes during the Sharks' five unsuccessful power play attempts. "It's a kind of game that we want to be identified with," Murray said. "This is the kind of game we want to play against every opponent. It's good tempo, pace, a lot of emotion. Dot to board play was often and strong and heavy, and scoring a couple of goals Willie Mitchell makes a great play entering the zone and we score from behind the net that's Richards, that's his game, going to the top of the crease for those little plays. It can be contagious. I'm happy to see some of those goals start to go in because it will filter through to the rest of the guys." When pucks aren't getting through, when posts are hit, when opposing players are unable to stuff anything past a stellar Jonathan Quick, that type of fortune is generated partly from a heightened work ethic and attention to positioning. Willie Mitchell's four blocked shots and Dustin Brown's several open ice hits allowed Quick to benefit from a bounce or two in addition to the 33 saves he made while earning his NHL-leading fourth shutout. "Our D made some great blocks, our forwards made some good reads, and it was just a really good effort," Moreau said. "You have to get a little bit fortunate, and that's why you don't want to take that many penalties against a good team, but we did a great job." At the least, it was a step in the right direction for the Kings, who now rank second in the NHL in hits, seventh in faceoff percentage, and have killed off 18 consecutive penalties. "We just wanted to prove to ourselves that we belong as an elite team, and we have to start proving that in the standings," Moreau said. "Tonight was a good start." NOTES: Terry Murray, on the third period goal disallowed after the NHL's ruling that Slava Voynov used a deliberate kicking motion: "That's a call that in my opinion should have gone the other way, because it was called a goal on the ice by the official, and the explanation then to me was that it was inconclusive by the video replay judge as to whether it was kicked or a stickbut actually it is a goal by that explanation, it has to be conclusive that it is kicked. The video was inconclusive so it should have been a goal." The Kings announced Monday that forward Scott Parse will fly to Nashville to have his hip examined by a specialist in early December. If surgery is needed, Parse would be out for approximately four months. Los Angeles forward prospect Tyler Toffoli was named to Canada's World Juniors selection camp, which runs from December 10-14 in Calgary. Toffoli, 19, has 26 goals in 24 games with the OHL's Ottawa 67's. Quick's 18th career shutout puts him 14 behind Rogie Vachon's club record of 32. He played in his 200th career game Monday. The last time the Kings shut out the Sharks at home was March 23, 2002, a 3-0 win. Mike Richards has goals in eight of ten games (9-1-10). Los Angeles is 6-1-2 against the Pacific Division. San Jose is scoreless in their 120 minutes of hockey in Southern California, losing 1-0 to Anaheim on October 14 prior to Monday's 2-0 loss.
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