Playing the `new-look' Capitals and Ovechkin - LA Kings Insider

It’s been an odd season for the Washington Capitals, who were strong in October in November but then went into a high-profile — thanks to HBO — 0-6-2 skid in December. That was followed by a 5-0-1 run, but since their Jan. 1 Winter Classic victory over Pittsburgh, the Capitals are the definition of mediocrity, with a 6-4-5 record. Even of late, the Capitals have been uneven. They had impressive victories over Tampa Bay (5-2) and Pittsburgh (3-0) last week, but then lost 2-0 at home to the hot San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. The Capitals got three days off at home after that game to prepare for the Kings, and Terry Murray planned to spend his Friday night watching film of the Capitals…

MURRAY: “That’s what I’ll be doing. Reading an article recently, though, they’ve gone to more of a checking game, a 1-2-2 neutral-zone forecheck, which is a big change for them. So there’s an emphasis on that side of the game for them. I go back to my first year with the L.A. Kings. That, to me, was the most important part of it, to get the checking game established, learn to play without the puck, and then you build from that point. So we have a foundation in place, and that’s the only way you can win in the National Hockey League, is if you know how to win one-goal games, to shut it down and get into the playoffs and do the right stuff away from the puck in those playoff games. So I’m seeing a chance in that attitude (from the Capitals).”

Of course, all discussion of the Capitals starts with Alexander Ovechkin, who is the team leader in goals (20) and points (55) in his 55 games. Ovechkin has been held without a point in five of his last six games, but in the one game in which he did score, Ovechkin put one goal and three assists on the board in a win over Tampa Bay.

MURRAY: “You’re not going to eliminate the opportunities that he’s going to create. You’ve got to try to limit them, with smart team play. He’s an exceptional player, powerful, can beat you in many different ways. So it’s got to be great awareness, and the right defenseman will have to be right on top of his game, in the game tomorrow.”

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.