Drew Doughty made it a personal mission Thursday to shut down Tampa Bay center Steven Stamkos, a friend and fellow member of the 2008 NHL draft class.
It was a tall order. Stamkos is the NHL’s top scorer, the Lightning was ranked No. 1 in the Eastern Conference, and Doughty was playing for the first time since he suffered a concussion on Oct. 20.
But Doughty and the Kings accomplished their task, staying atop the NHL standings with a 1-0 victory before an announced sellout crowd of 18,118 at Staples Center.
In a rugged game that boiled over to produce a third-period fight between Willie Mitchell and Tampa Bay’s Steve Downie after Downie hit Doughty, the Kings (9-3) extended their home record to 5-0-0. Goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped 24 shots to earn his first shutout this season and ninth of his career.
“This was one of those games where everybody had a big part,” Kings center Anze Kopitar said. “Obviously Quick back there was amazing for us, yet again. We haven’t played a lot of one-goal games as of lately but it feels good to see if we could pull it together.”