Scoring the first goal of the game has been a subplot in the Kings’ playoff success so far. Before Game 3 against Phoenix, the Kings had scored the first goal in eight of their 11 games. The Coyotes scored the first goal in Game 3, but the Kings answered just more than two minutes later and never trailed again. In Game 4, the Coyotes scored a first-period goal and shut out the Kings. In the regular season, the team that scored the first goal won a large percentage of the games, and the Coyotes, in particular, are known as a team that looks stronger when playing with a lead. Asked, independently, today about the importance of the first goal, two veterans — Rob Scuderi and Shane Doan — both used the game word: confidence.

SCUDERI: “I think it’s just a confidence-booster. You’re playing, not defensive, but you’re just kind of waiting and you’re trying to play and do your best and see what happens. When you get that first goal, it’s a little bit of confidence, a little bit of a boost. You feel like your hard work paid off. Usually the team that plays with the lead plays a little more confident. It would be nice if we could get the first one tonight.’’

DOAN: “I think it just calms (teams) down to a certain degree, so they know we’re doing things right, things are going your way. I think confidence is everything in the playoffs, just because everyone is so, so close. With everyone being that close, feeling confident is big.’’

Darryl Sutter alluded to the same thing, and pointed out that the team that takes the lead doesn’t wan to sit back and protect it, but continue to build upon what it is doing correctly.

SUTTER: “It doesn’t matter if it’s playoffs or the regular season. In the NHL, the league is about the first goal, how difficult it is. You know what, when you get veteran coaches and experienced coaching staffs, and teams that played together and are still playing, what they’ve done really well is, not protect the lead but play with leads. That’s why they’re still playing. So it’s important. Neither team are teams that score a lot of goals. They’re close games. So the first goal is important.’’

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Alec martinez

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 210 lb | Age: 29

Born: July 26, 1987
Birthplace: Rochester Hills, MI, USA
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Martinez was drafted by the LA Kings in the 2007 Draft, while playing for Miami University. He has since become a two-time Stanley Cup champion and the 17th man in Stanley Cup playoff history to score the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

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

Bio

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.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

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

Bio

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.

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Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

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

Bio

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.
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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

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

Bio

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.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

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

Bio

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.

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