Waking up with the Kings: February 8 - LA Kings Insider

Several notes I took during the Kings’ 3-0 loss to the Predators Thursday evening:

-I’m wary of fights to “get teams going”, staged fights, line brawls, etc., but Rich Clune’s tilt with Kyle Clifford 2:15 into the game showed the importance of the former King to this Predators team and illustrated why Barry Trotz has been pleased with the player who one month ago was playing in Manchester. A natural complacency has the potential to develop in the first game back after a long roadtrip – Nashville was playing its first home game after a seven-game trip that equaled the longest trip in franchise history – and Clune’s fight with Clifford served as a wakeup call, a rallying cry that the Predators weren’t going to fall victim to the first-home-game-in-three-weeks trap. 39 seconds later, Gabriel Bourque scored on a one-timer from David Legwand.

-I came away awfully impressed by Nashville forwards Colin Wilson and Gabriel Bourque. All four of the 22-year old Bourque’s shots came in the first period and set the tone of a period in which Jonathan Quick kept the score close while the Kings were being out-chanced. Wilson’s second goal that put the Predators up 3-0 was a beauty. The 23-year old could have scored two goals on the same play. He had an excellent deflection on Shea Weber’s power play point blast that Quick did a good job of adjusting to, and then buried his own rebound. It was a strong example of Nashville “keeping it simple”: they won a faceoff, shot the puck from the point, got bodies in front and then pounced on the rebound.

-For a team that has such strong depth down the middle, L.A. shouldn’t have been forced to the perimeter as much as it was Thursday. In perhaps the Most Deceiving Statistic Of The Year, the Kings outshot the Preds 32-14 — but how many of those shots were generated by actual scoring chances? Trotz discussed this after yesterday’s morning skate, saying of the team that ranks 30th in the league in shots per game, “I’m not concerned about the shots. I’m more concerned about what we give up. Our shots against are way down. Our chances against are way down…If you don’t get as many shots, that’s the way it goes. They don’t count the shots, they count the scoreboard.” These are two teams that match up well down the center of the ice, and I was surprised with the ease in which Nashville pushed everything towards the perimeter in its defensive zone.

-I’m not consistently seeing a 200-foot game from the Kings at this point. There are spurts of effective forechecking – the King-Stoll-Lewis line has provided some good pressure at times – but I’m not seeing 60 minutes of that rink-wide defensive effort that made the team so difficult to play against down the stretch last season. With the responsible nature inherent in the team’s forwards, I’ve been expecting more goals like Jarret Stoll’s overtime series-winner against Vancouver, which was set up by a terrific Trevor Lewis hustle play as he hounded Dan Hamhuis off the puck. It’s that type of play that has made St. Louis such a difficult team to play against – something that Barry Trotz referenced after yesterday’s morning skate.

-Any opportunity to see a game in “Smashville” should be taken advantage of. From a montage of videoboard hits, set to the tune of John Rich’s Mack Truck, to the Gordonville High School Band’s rendition of Rocky Top, to the in-house band’s between-period performances and game-stoppage cover of Roxanne and organist “Krazy” Kyle Hankins, this was a very unique game-night environment and certainly gave off a Tennessee hockey vibe. It was loud in Bridgestone Arena last night, and the fans saluted the home team with a standing ovation over the game’s final minute.

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

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.

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.