The Kings ended a peculiar streak against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night, going to the sixth round of a shootout for a 3-2 victory that goaltender Jonathan Quick sealed with a glove save of an Andrew Cogliano shot.
The Oilers won their previous five games in Staples Center, all by shootout, but when Jarret Stoll's shot in the third sudden-death round got a piece of Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk and dribbled over the line, it sent Terry Murray toward his 100th win as Kings coach.
The Kings had not reached the playoffs since 2002 when Murray took over in 2008-2009.
Murray got the Kings back to the playoffs last season and became the quickest coach in franchise history to reach triple digits in wins, improving to 100-76-21 in 197 games.
"Coaches win because they have pretty good players with good character," Murray said. "We have a leadership group that [General Manager] Dean Lombardi put in place.
"It's a great group of guys. That locker room is as close and tight as any team I've been on.
"They really care about each other and work hard for each other. It's a matter of players looking at each other in the eye and saying, 'I'm going to play hard for you tonight.' To me, that's what has taken place here over the last few years."
Coming off a grueling 10-day trip in which they went 3-2, the Kings had to dig deep Thursday night, even though they were playing a young and rebuilding club that has the worst record in the Western Conference.
"You're gone for 10 days, you're fatigued, you come home and it's the holidays, and you just want to relax and spend time with your family," Murray said, when asked why teams often experience a letdown after a long trip.
"It was just a demanding game, but we found a way to get it done. It was a grind, but it was great to get two points."
Quick, who shut out the high-scoring Colorado Avalanche in Denver on Tuesday night, came up with several big saves in overtime and in the shootout, the first three rounds of which ended in a 1-1 tie, Jordan Eberle scoring for Edmonton and Dustin Brown for the Kings.
The Oilers took a 2-1 lead at the 4:25 mark of the third period when Jean-Francois Jacques redirected a Theo Peckham shot from the blue line through traffic past Quick for his first goal of the season.
But the Kings countered 20 seconds later when Jack Johnson, who had fallen to his knees in the left face-off circle, got up in time to take a pass from Wayne Simmonds and fire a wrist shot past Dubnyk for a 2-2 tie.
Both teams scored power-play goals in the second period, the Oilers taking a 1-0 lead on Taylor Hall's wrist shot from the left side that slipped under Quick's right pad at the 1:39 mark, and the Kings evening the score on Justin Williams' goal at the 8:31 mark.
How rare was the 11th goal of the season by Hall, the 19-year-old whiz kid of a winger who was the first overall pick in the 2010 draft?
The Kings had allowed only two power-play goals in 50 tries in their first 14 home games, a 96% penalty-kill rate that was the best home mark in the NHL, and they successfully fought off another penalty in the first.
A high-sticking penalty by Edmonton's Linus Omark gave the Kings a power play at the 7:42 mark of the second.
The Kings took advantage on Williams' 13th goal, which was set up by Michal Handzus, who took a pass from Johnson at the blue line and flicked the puck to Williams driving down the left side.
Williams shielded Ladislav Smid with his body and beat Dubnyk glove-side with a wrist shot for a 1-1 tie and his 30th point in his 33rd game this season. Williams had 29 points in 49 games last season.
"We're in the win column," Williams said. "They're a team that has a lot of skill, and if you don't respect them, they're going to make you pay.
"Obviously, we didn't have the best game, but at the end, we had our big players step up and score some goals, and Quick made some great saves."