-Darryl Sutter loved the contributions from “the four kids” on defense as he mentioned the performances by “Muzzin, Voynov, Ellerby and Drew” without referencing 25-year old Alec Martinez, who logged a blue line-low 11:16 of ice time and continues to work back into his rhythm after missing eight games due to an upper-body injury. Of Jake Muzzin, whose play this blog has been bullish over for the past month, the gradual shift towards earning more ice time alongside Drew Doughty has been an encouraging trend that has seemed to benefit both the team’s results and Muzzin’s individual statistics. Muzzin has three goals, five points and a plus-four rating over his last five games and continues to make intelligent decisions with the puck in the offensive zone. His ability to draw St. Louis with him as he drifted to the right after a clean Mike Richards faceoff win was the savvy move that opened up the space for Jeff Carter to unleash the powerful wristshot that served as the game-winner. Also, Slava Voynov continues to show that intelligent physical play is a part of his all-around package – he had an good, clean hit on Alex Pietrangelo along the boards late in this game amongst the seven hits that led Los Angeles in a physical affair.

-Despite earning only 11:29 of ice time last night, I liked what Dustin Penner provided as the game evolved. His contribution to Mike Richards’ early third period goal is exactly what the team needs from him as the goal served as a major momentum boost in the team’s comeback. He separated Ian Cole from the puck – lots of Kings separated Ian Cole from the puck last night – with a hit behind the net while on the forecheck before stealing the puck from Kevin Shattenkirk. Jeff Carter should also be recognized for his poke that disrupted Shattenkirk’s attempt to skate the puck out of his own zone. Richards sensed the play developing and drove through the slot unmarked to convert his own rebound after Penner had fed him in stride with a pinpoint backhanded pass. The Penner-Richards-Carter line was outstanding for the Kings in the playoffs last year, and if Penner can continue to replicate his efforts from that impactful shift, that second line will continue to raise the ceiling of the team’s offensive capabilities.

-So finally there was a push back from the St. Louis Blues after having lost six consecutive games to Los Angeles – once in a shootout at Staples Center late last year, all four to the Kings in last year’s playoff series, and a 4-1 defeat to L.A. in St. Louis that included a mostly uninterested Blues performance on February 11. There were three first period fights and plenty of jawing and unpleasant exchanges between the two teams as the visitors attempted to use a heavy approach that hadn’t consistently been there in the most recent meeting between these two teams. It worked for two periods as St. Louis won most of the puck battles, was outstanding around the net in front of Jonathan Bernier and Jonathan Quick and offered an example of the strong depth scoring it receives, even in the absence of Alex Steen and Andy McDonald. Where had this Kings-Blues antagonism been before last night? I’m not advocating anything that resembles that ridiculous Pittsburgh – Philadelphia series last season, but until the first period of last night’s game, I really hadn’t seen St. Louis demonstrate its frustration over what has developed into a one-sided rivalry over the span of a calendar year.

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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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