ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Martin Jones' NHL debut ended in a nine-round shootout, with the Anaheim Ducks' high-scoring lineup taking turns bearing down on the Los Angeles Kings' new goalie.
Jones faced up to the pressure and turned away everything he saw, leading the Kings to a strong start to the Freeway Faceoff.
Jones made 26 saves before his perfect shootout performance, and Dwight King scored the only shootout goal Tuesday night in the Kings' 3-2 victory over the Ducks.
Jeff Carter and captain Dustin Brown scored for the Kings, who have earned a point in 13 of their last 14 games. They barely escaped Orange County with a second point thanks to Jones, the 23-year-old AHL goalie who got a promotion after Jonathan Quick's injury.
"To be honest, I've been in that situation before," Jones said of the lengthy shootout. "Obviously, the shooters are a little bit of a higher level up here, but I just wanted to stay patient and stick with what I've been doing down (in the AHL).
Jones has spent nearly three weeks as the backup to Ben Scrivens, who started the Kings' last 10 games after Quick went down with a groin injury. Scrivens has been one of the NHL's best netminders in Quick's absence, keeping Jones out of the crease until this back-to-back set.
Jones was ready for the long-delayed opportunity, even against Anaheim's vaunted collection of forwards.
"Once you start the day and start going through your routine, everything is pretty familiar," Jones said. "And it's the same game. It was intense, for sure. I wanted to make sure I was just prepared and as focused as I could be, and try to enjoy it a little bit if I could. It was a great experience, and something I've dreamed about for a long time — playing in an NHL game and getting a win. It was everything it was cracked up to be."
Southern California's two NHL teams started off their season series with an entertaining game befitting two clubs entering the night with their best combined record (35-14-8) in the two-decade, 113-game history of this head-to-head rivalry.
Anaheim veteran Jonas Hiller made a season-high 49 saves and stopped Los Angeles' first eight shootout attempts, but King scored on a wrist shot before Jones stopped Mathieu Perreault to end it.
"It's good to see a kid play in his first game and get a win somehow," Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said. "He's a pretty poised guy when you watch him. Hopefully this is something he can build on."