When Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar skated in alone on Jimmy Howard late in the third period of Wednesday night’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, one sensed it was the pivotal moment of the contest.
If Kopitar scored, the Kings could ride that momentum to victory. If Howard stopped him, it would have given the road team the boost.
Well ... Kopitar scored. Boy, did he.
Dwight King sprung Kopitar with a no-look pass that caught the Red Wings’ defense by surprise, and flat-footed. Kopitar finished the task with a flourish: Sliding to his left, and then bringing the puck back to his right; as Howard desperately attempted to lunge back to this left to cover his net, Kopitar had already tucked the puck in for what would be the game-winning goal at 15:12.
Via LA Kings Insider, Kopitar said of the goal:
“It was a little bit of a scrum on the half wall there. I just wanted to make sure I got loose just in case those guys got the puck. Coming our way, I wanted to make sure I was in a decent position to come back. Then, once I saw Kinger get the puck, I just kind of opened up. I knew I was by myself in front of the goalie, and I was able to put it in.”
Said defenseman Drew Doughty of the goal:
“It was a nice move. I don’t know what else to say. The goalie followed him on his forehand, and that was his only option. To be able to do that in that tight of a space, that’s why he’s Kopi.”
Indeed he is. So was that a Datsyukian move by Kopitar, or was this flat-out a Kopitarian move?