Waking up with the Kings: March 15 - LA Kings Insider

-Of the Sharks’ four tallies last night, three had much to say about the momentum of the game: Brent Burns’ first period goal that negated a heavy Kings scoring chance discrepancy, Matt Irwin’s power play goal that made it 2-0, and the two-on-zero finish by Logan Couture 27 seconds into the third period, which put the Sharks back up by three and stunted L.A.’s comeback attempt. On the other end of the ice, Antti Niemi was outstanding in denying Los Angeles early life by stopping all 16 shots during a first period in which some NHL goalies would have let one or two in. Opportunism would have served the Kings well on the road against a divisional rival in a building they have traditionally found little success in, and Niemi’s spotless first period (including dual saves on an excellent Dustin Brown, on a Jarret Stoll one-timer and on Anze Kopitar from close range) allowed Brent Burns to cash in on a loose puck in the slot during a 20-minute stretch in which San Jose was out-chanced and didn’t see an overwhelming amount of zone time.

-A pivotal play in this game was Jake Muzzin’s engagement of Andrew Desjardins after the latter’s clean, shoulder-to-shoulder hit on Colin Fraser behind the Kings net. Fraser supported his teammate sticking up for him – as would any other player in that locker room when speaking to the media – but I’d have been interested to hear the post-game reactions by the coaching staff. That’s likely a discussion that will wait for today’s practice. Regardless of one’s stance in a situation where a player accrues an instigator (or, in this case, an additional instigating with a visor minor), the team is still tasked with killing off the ensuing power play(s), an undertaking Los Angeles was unsuccessful at on both ends of Muzzin’s minors. While the team’s power play has been a revelation recently – maybe the best power play rhythm since the LA-Vancouver series in 2010? – the penalty killing has allowed six goals in the last 17 shorthanded situations. The Kings are 2-3 over that five-game stretch.

-Los Angeles road success, where have you gone? After a 10-1 playoff record away from Staples Center last spring, the Kings have come back down to earth with a 5-8-1 road record in 2012-13. The two away records obviously contain vastly different sets of circumstances and are hardly comparable, but a general recipe towards road success is receiving quality goaltending, winning special teams battles, keeping things “simple” and getting the game’s first goal, and L.A. hasn’t graded consistently well in those areas over its three-game road losing streak. I spoke with Drew Doughty about this at yesterday’s morning skate. “Going into other teams’ rinks, we want to be a team that no one looks forward to playing when we come into town,” Doughty said. “We want to be hard on the forecheck. We want to take the crowd out of the game. We want to try and get up a few goals in that first period, because when the crowd’s not behind you, and you even get booed by your own crowd, that just takes all the energy and momentum away from you.” The Kings’ forechecking was awfully good on in the first period, and until Burns scored on one of six San Jose shots (against L.A.’s 16), that road method was being demonstrated. Momentum wore teal last night.

-The defensive statistics that were all so kind to the Kings a year ago are now falling out of favor. Goals per game have risen from 2.07 (ranking: 2nd) to 2.62 (13th). Penalty killing has fallen from 87.0 (4th) to 80.2 (18th). Save percentage has seen a sharp drop, falling from .924 (4th) to .893 (24th). More on these topics from practice, which begins at noon at the Toyota Sports Center.

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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.