Kings get to battle closest pursuers - LA Kings Insider

There’s no rest for the wicked, or for teams trying to stand on solid ground in the Western Conference playoff race. At this point, there are five teams — Detroit, Vancouver, San Jose, St. Louis and Nashville — that can feel good about themselves, and seven teams — Chicago, the Kings, Phoenix, Calgary, Colorado, Dallas and Minnesota — all eyeing three playoff spots and all within seven points of each other. If nothing else, at least the Kings hold their own fate in their hands, largely. They have two home games this week against Phoenix and Calgary, and then road games against Phoenix and Colorado. So, as Darryl Sutter well knows, the Kings have no time to relax now that their season-long six-game road trip is over.

SUTTER: “It’s the same. I didn’t look at it as a trip. I looked at it as the two back-to-backs and the two games in Florida. Now we do the same thing. We’ve got two at home and two on the road. So you’ve got to break it down and be ready for it. You’re in a position where you want to do everything you can to hold your spot.’’

It was then pointed out to Sutter that the next two teams the Kings face — Phoenix and Calgary — are the two teams directly behind them, the two teams trying to breathe down the Kings’ collective neck…

SUTTER: “Not trying to. They is. [laughs] That’s the best part. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. I didn’t know, with 20-some games left, that it wasn’t supposed to be like that. I would have bet, at the start of the year, if someone had said (you’d be) chasing San Jose. That’s what we’re trying to do.’’

To that end, the Kings have today and tomorrow to prepare for Phoenix, after yesterday’s day off. The Kings held an hour-long practice today — “It was good energy. They needed a day off, and they needed to get their amp going again,’’ Sutter said — but the coach did have to bark at the players once, as periodically happen when drills get messed up and/or aren’t executed properly. As for his scolding today, Sutter said, “Do it right. It’s not that hard. Pass, receive, shoot, skate…’’

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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.