Waking up with the Kings: February 20 - LA Kings Insider

-Last night’s performance was mostly positive for the Kings. Jonathan Quick kept the score tied early, and for the final 40 minutes Los Angeles was the better team. Of course, “being the better team” doesn’t get you two points in the standings (see: Detroit), and the Kings finally earned some puck luck of their own when Jeff Carter, driving towards the net to create some grease in front of Nikolai Khabibulin, had Trevor Lewis’ wristshot glance off the blade of his stick and into the back of the net. Carter told me after the game that he wasn’t trying to deflect the puck, that the deflection was coincidental and he was only trying to create traffic and a screen. I’m not sure if I’m buying that – it appeared as though Carter may have called for the puck and chopped his stick at it. In any case, when you’ve scored 209 goals in 530 career games, you score goals in a variety of different ways, including in some situations when you’re not necessarily even looking to get a shot on net. The play was set up when Davis Drewiske used a good stick to disrupt a rush into the zone by Taylor Hall.

-Speaking of Hall, I wasn’t overly fond of his play or the play of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins last night. Their line, along with Jordan Eberle, was a combined minus-nine and allowed an even strength goal to the Kings’ Jordan Nolan-Colin Fraser-Trevor Lewis line. Lewis and Fraser won the net-front battle for the puck over Nick Schultz and Nugent-Hopkins, allowing for Fraser’s chip shot from close range. The Oilers have a surplus of speed and some enviable burgeoning skill, but are there a collection of grinders and role players that are so necessary to go deep into the playoffs? There’s Ryan Smyth, Ben Eager and of course Eric Belanger – who certainly helped the Kings win a playoff series 12 years ago – but I’m not yet seeing an excessive amount of veteran strength and jam in Edmonton’s top-six, at least not in the sense of “jam” that can be found embedded in Anze Kopitar’s, Mike Richards’ and Dustin Brown’s games. L.A. tightened up over the final 40 minutes of this game and was successful in winning the battles along the boards and keeping the Oilers’ skill mostly to the perimeter.

-Have you liked Jake Muzzin’s game ever since Darryl Sutter’s “road apples” comment? I’m guardedly optimistic. I also asked this question to two people whose opinions I value greatly, and they weren’t as ready to moderately speak as favorably as I was. I’m not looking to write an opera about his recent play, but I saw a few things that I liked yesterday. He was hitting – he was credited with four hits in 16:05 and had a rather large first period open-ice hit on Belanger. He also very nearly came away with an assist on a simple second period play in which he snapped a puck low towards the Edmonton net, right in the wheelhouse for Richards to get a stick on it. Richards’ prime deflection was stopped by Khabibulin on one of the 35 saves the 40-year old goaltender made in a throwback ‘Bulin Wall performance. Muzzin isn’t ready for a top-four role, but his play has certainly been an improvement over what it was in the Anaheim game.

-Dustin Brown led the Kings with five hits. Share your thoughts below.

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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.