LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Kings' sputtering offence needed a quick fix. Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and defenceman Tom Preissing helped provide it, making goalie Jonathan Quick's NHL debut an absolute breeze.
Brown had two goals and an assist, Preissing scored twice during power plays and Michal Handzus had a short-handed tally in the Kings' 8-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night. Michael Cammalleri had a goal and two assists, and Kopitar had a career-high four assists.
"I felt really good tonight. And with the big start that we had, it makes it a lot easier to get your confidence back and to make plays that you usually wouldn't," Kopitar said. "When you get up by two or three goals, those seam passes open up. And that was the case tonight. Everybody was making plays and it was really enjoyable to play this game."
Quick, pressed into service because of injuries to Jason LaBarbera and Jean-Sebastien Aubin, made 15 saves and was staked to a 7-0 lead by the 11:07 mark of the second period.
"It was just good timing that I happened to get in tonight," Quick said. "It was a lot easier with the support the team gave me and the way they played in front of me. It was a good game for me to start off my career with. It was a lot of fun."
Quick, a third-round draft pick in 2005, is the ninth goalie the Kings have used since the start of last season. The list includes LaBarbera, Aubin, Jonathan Bernier, Mathieu Garon, Sean Burke, Dan Cloutier, Yutaka Fukufuji and Barry Brust.
LaBarbera missed his third straight game because of a rib injury. Aubin, who was unable to go because of two sore groin muscles, served as Quick's backup. But the 21-year-old rookie didn't have any of his family on hand for the big event.
"I found out a little too late. It's a six-hour flight over here from Connecticut and they didn't have enough time to get here," Quick said. "But my father went out and bought the NHL package the other day when I got called up, so a bunch of my friends went over to the house and they all were watching the game."
What they saw was the biggest offensive output by the Kings since an 8-6 victory over Atlanta at Staples Center on Jan. 19, 2006 - the night Luc Robitaille became their career goal leader.
Los Angeles hadn't scored more than three goals in any of its previous 11 games. Even Derek Armstrong and Jaroslav Modry got into the act with their first goals of the season.
"It's the first time I've gone that long without a goal. But it's not about that, to me," Armstrong said. "All along I've said it's more about winning than anything."
Drew Stafford and Thomas Vanek scored for the Sabres, who lost for the third time in four games after a five-game winning streak. It was the first meeting between the teams since Jan. 14, 2006, when Jochen Hecht and Jason Pominville had hat tricks for the Sabres in a 10-1 victory in Buffalo.
Jocelyn Thibault, starting for only the fourth time this season and first time since shutting out Montreal with 24 saves on Nov. 24, stopped only 10 of 14 shots in the first period before Ryan Miller replaced him at the start of the second. Miller allowed two goals on the first six shots he faced after losing 4-1 in Anaheim on Wednesday night.
Cammalleri opened the scoring at the 3:55 mark. Jack Johnson dumped the puck behind the net and Thibault left his crease to play it, but took a one-handed swipe with his stick and fanned on it. Kopitar quickly passed in front to Cammalleri, who one-timed his 14th goal past Thibault's stick.
"I made a mistake on the first goal, and that happens," Thibault said. "I didn't do what I had to do in the first period to keep the score as low as possible, and it just got worse. There was a lot of traffic in front of the net and it was difficult to see the puck. It was not a fun game to be in."
Johnson set up the second goal, circling the net and passing out to the right point to Brown, whose one-timer through a screen zipped between the legs of Handzus in the low slot and past Thibault. Preissing made it 3-0 at 18:20, beating Thibault to the stick side with a one-timer from 35 feet while Stafford was serving a roughing penalty.
Modry scored just 33 seconds before intermission. Thibault completely fanned on the defenceman's wrist shot to the glove side from the top of the left circle.
Handzus notched his 13th career short-handed goal at 1:56 of the second while Ladislav Nagy was off for interference. The Kings then received a two-man advantage after staggered penalties to Adam Mair and Hecht, and Armstrong made it 6-0 with 54 seconds still left on Mair's high-sticking infraction.