Stakes raised higher in rivalry games - LA Kings Insider

It’s tough to overstate the importance of the upcoming three games between the Kings and Anaheim Ducks. The teams meet tomorrow night at Staples Center, then close the regular season with a home-and-home series on back-to-back nights. These three games could go a long way toward determining the playoff fates of both teams. The Kings will enter tomorrow night’s game in fifth place in the Western Conference, four points ahead of the 10th-place Ducks, so anything can happen over the final three weeks of the regular season. The usual intensity between the rivals figures to be at an even higher level, given what is at stake, and after practice today, both Drew Doughty and Terry Murray said they are looking forward to the games…

DOUGHTY: “It’s going to be fun. It’s only that 45-minute drive between us. Every time we play Anaheim, the stands are packed and the fans are always kind of half and half. Whenever we play there, it’s half our fans and half theirs, and same when they come here. So it’s a good atmosphere and it’s a rivalry that’s been going on forever, so to have those battles, those three games, they’re going to be real playoff-like games.”

MURRAY: “I’m excited about the game, the remaining three games, because they’re going to have great meaning. When you’re on the East Coast, you get a lot of rivals develop very quickly, geographically, because you’re so close. The Rangers and the Devils, the Islanders, the Flyers, a lot of things get heated up and they’re great games. Those are intense. That’s when you can look at your team and you can evaluate players and say, `OK, let’s see what you’ve got.’ And that’s fun. I look at the remaining games with Anaheim, San Jose, I think these are going to be intense, they’re going to be hard and they’re going to be great games for the fans and great games for the players. These are games that, as you grew up, these are the games you wanted to play. It brings your best out. … It’s not just another regular-season game. This is a game that has a lot of meaning. It means playoffs and positioning. It’s got the potential to be a very intense hockey game.”

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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.