`Clutch' Kopitar appreciated by teammates - LA Kings Insider

Anze Kopitar is certainly having more fun in the playoffs this year than he did last year. Twelve months ago, Kopitar was on crutches, recovering from surgery necessitated by a devastating late-season leg injury. Now, Kopitar is a major cog behind the Kings’ run to the Stanley Cup Finals. He has recorded at least one point in 12 of the Kings’ 15 playoff games, and with his overtime goal in Game 1 against New Jersey, Kopitar pulled into a tie with linemate Dustin Brown for the team lead in goals (seven) and points (16) in this postseason. True to his nature, when asked about his playoff run, Kopitar deflected the praise…

KOPITAR: “I think our line has been pretty productive throughout this whole playoffs. With Dustin and Justin (Williams) on the wings, they’ve been playing some good hockey, and that certainly helps.’’

That left captain Brown and alternate captain Matt Greene to speak for Kopitar’s game, and not just his offense…

BROWN: “He’s always been a big part of this team. Obviously he gets a big goal for us (in Game 1). That’s what you want your best players to do, is to find ways to win you games, and he did that. The flip side of that is his defensive game. He and Ricky [Mike Richards], they’ve been able to shut down top teams’ lines.’’

GREENE: “He’s awesome. He’s got a lot of skill. He’s been working hard. He’s been clutch for us. When he gets chances, he’s been making them really count, and he did that last night for us.’’

Darryl Sutter was asked about what he knew about Kopitar’s game when he took over the Kings in mid-December. Sutter sometimes give short, curt answers to similar questions — he is regularly asked about Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick in the same vein — but Sutter gave a fairly in-depth answer about Kopitar and his development.

SUTTER: “He plays lots of minutes, plays lots of situations, takes faceoffs. (It) doesn’t bother what style is going on, he can handle it. I think the big thing I tried to impress upon him was just being consistent. It’s no different than any other young player. Obviously he’s getting to play in the playoffs, which is something he’d only done six games before in his career. So obviously if you ask him, that’s probably the biggest (thing) ‑‑ what he would say, is getting to play longer in the playoffs.’’

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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.

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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.

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


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


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


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Handedness: Left


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