The shootout intelligence was good, of course.
But you can crunch the numbers, listen to a successful teammate and in the end, it comes down to a split-second decision and maybe even a quick change of heart.
That's what happened with center Anze Kopitar on Sunday when he scored the decider in the shootout to give the Kings a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers at Staples Center.
The Kings peppered Oilers' goaltender Richard Bachman, who was recalled from the minors earlier in the day, with a season-high 48 shots on goal, but they only got one past him in regulation.
Mike Richards and Kopitar managed to beat him in the shootout, and Kings goalie Jonathan Quick stopped David Perron and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the second and third rounds. Nugent-Hopkins shot wide on his attempt.
The Kings are now 4-0 in shootouts this season. Jordan Eberle scored on Quick in the first round, becoming the first player to get one past Quick in shootouts this season.
Kopitar went third after Richards and Jeff Carter.
"Whoever goes first, kind of throws out the scenery — what's going on there," Kopitar said. "Rick [Richards] said there's a little bit of room, high glove.
"But I came down and I saw a bit more room on the blocker side. So I decided to fire there."
Even as Kopitar has struggled to score this season in non-shootout situations, he has trusted his instincts in these one-on-one showdowns. In fact, he has only missed once in four shootout opportunities and has had three game-deciding goals.
The way Bachman was playing, the Kings could have given way to understandable frustration. Richards, who scored on a rebound at 16:58 in the second period, was the only King to get one past Bachman before the shootout.
It looked as if he had another in the third period, but it was waved off when it was ruled that Kings forward Matt Frattin had contact with Bachman.
"Their goalie had a hell of a game," Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said.
Said Carter: "We knew him from last year [with Dallas]. He played well for them. When a guy starts in the minors and gets his call, you know you're going to get his best effort."
The Kings had 23 shots on goal in the third period and Kopitar himself nearly ended it in the final 20 seconds of regulation. Edmonton's only goal came from Nail Yakupov, on the power play, at 4:12 of the second period. His rebound, from the base of the circle, made it, 1-0.
"You've got to keep on plugging away," said Kopitar. "That's what it is. Last game, we scored four in the first. Tonight we just couldn't do it. But you can't get frustrated, keep on going. Eventually they're going to go in.
"Having 48 shots meant we were doing something right. We were there. I'm sure if we have games where we have 48 shots, most of the time it'll be a good chance to win."
And having the likes of Richards, Carter and Kopitar going in the shootout doesn't hurt.
"It's a tough lineup," Bachman said. "Obviously you want to get that point. It's a huge point. But it's a shootout.
"Obviously you want the win, though. It's a little disappointing there."