In terms of longevity, being Anze Kopitar’s left winger is up there with being the drummer for Spinal Tap. In just the past couple seasons, Kopitar has gone through Ryan Smyth, Alexander Frolov, Brad Richardson, Patrick O’Sullivan…didn’t Kyle Calder even get a couple games there? Those are just the names off the top of my head. Tonight, Kopitar gets a new Russian left winger, although not the one many thought would join the Kings in July. Andrei Loktionov joins the first line tonight, in his second NHL game, after being a healthy scratch in the Kings’ first two games this season.
“Andrei is a good player,” Kopitar said. “He sees the ice well. He’s really slick, he makes plays and he obviously has a ton of skill. Hopefully we will connect. I think we’re going to be making plays, and then Brownie is going to be more of a power-forward guy on the line, so that’s nothing new. We’ll see what happens tonight.”
As discussed yesterday, Loktionov is a natural center who said he has played a maximum of five games on the wing during his young career, but Kopitar said he doesn’t think the move will be too much for Loktionov to handle.
“It’s one of those things were nowadays, the flow of the game is not just up and down,” Kopitar said. “It’s crissing and crossing. I don’t think it’s going to be too hard for him. Hopefully not, and hopefully we’ll click.”
Terry Murray also hopes so. His team has generated one 5-on-5 goal in two games.
“I’m hoping we can generate something there, on the offensive part of the game,” Murray said. “We need some scoring to get going. We need to pick things up in 5-on-5 play, at least to generate more quality chances than what we’ve had in the first two games.”