Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 3/18/12
With one of the youngest rosters in the National Hockey League, it would have been somewhat understandable if the Los Angeles Kings had followed their 4-3 come-from-ahead loss in Detroit last week with wobbly play against a collection of some of the Western Conference's most talented and hottest teams. Instead, the Kings have resiliently rebounded with consecutive wins against Chicago, Detroit, Anaheim, and most recently the Nashville Predators, the latest coming in a 4-2 Los Angeles win Saturday at Staples Center that matched their longest winning streak of the season and first four-game winning streak since October 15-22. 8-3 in their last 11 games, the once-sleepy Kings offense has recorded at least three goals in nine games over that span. "I don't look at it as a winning streak. There isn't much difference in our game at any point," coach Darryl Sutter said. "There's a little break once in a while but we had some guys score some big goals." He neglected to use the word "young" before "guys". On Saturday the Kings received three goals from players aged 24 or younger and four assists from players 25 and under. "It doesn't matter how old you are," Matt Greene said. "It's just time to win games. That's it. Guys know the season is on the line, and they're just doing a good job." Trevor Lewis punctuated the development he's shown in his second full NHL season with a two-assist night, offering the centering pass that was redirected up high by Dustin Penner past Pekka Rinne for the team's go-ahead goal. It was the first of three goals Los Angeles scored in the third period after 40 minutes of hockey resulted in a 1-1 deadlock. "I started off the year kind of a step back from last year, and since before Christmas, I think I've been picking it up and getting more comfortable again and getting my confidence back," Lewis said. 22-year old Dwight King had amassed all of six NHL contests prior to his mid-February call-up but has found a sturdy, productive home skating alongside Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, producing four goals and ten points in 17 games. His third-period breakaway goal gave the Kings some breathing room and served as the eventual game-winner. "Kyle Clifford's another guy, too," Greene said of Los Angeles' 20-year old left winger who scored the team's fourth goal. "You get a guy like that, you just see how he's progressing to make that move at the end, and also with Kinger there coming down, getting us that huge goal." "As a young kid coming up, big time of the year, and to get a chance and bury that, it's awesome. All of those guys." Not to be outdone, it was 23-year old goaltender Jonathan Bernier who continued his productive second half in stopping 19 of 21 shots while spelling Jonathan Quick for only the eighth time since Christmas. Though just 3-4-1 over that span, he has a shutout of Minnesota to his credit and has stopped 170 of his last 181 shots faced for a .939 save percentage. "It's not easy obviously, but that's my job and I have to do it right," Bernier said of his intermittent schedule this season in backing up a potential Vezina Trophy finalist. Without much help around the league on Saturday the Avalanche beat the Rangers and the Sharks won at home in overtime over the Red Wings to enhance the six-teams-separated-by-three-points logjam Los Angeles still has no margin for error when their four-game homestand continues next week with challenging games against San Jose, St. Louis and Boston. "We're just worried about the next game. That's it," Greene said. "It's not about what other teams are doing or anything like that. We have to take care of our own. Everybody's winning, and we just have to make sure we keep pace." NOTES: Darryl Sutter: "We played last night and it's mentally hard on these guys. They're trying to get through it and it's hard. We're playing a hard game and you need everybody. We got big goals from our left-wingers tonight; flat out." Los Angeles won the season series against Nashville with a 3-1 record for the second consecutive year. Dustin Brown's career-high point streak ended at 10 games. Jonathan Bernier has allowed two or fewer goals in eight of his last nine starts.
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