-The Los Angeles Kings are getting a thorough check of their mental fortitude in this best-of-seven series against the St. Louis Blues. The check comes specifically from the manner in which the first two games concluded following an overtime loss and St. Louis’ comeback in a game in which they were being outplayed for the first 40 minutes. Though both teams do pride themselves on their defensive approach – Darryl Sutter referenced that the two teams finished second (St. Louis) and third (Los Angeles) in shots allowed during the regular season – the Kings had mere millimeters of space with which to work in the third period, and their hustle, battle and pressure game that had been so effective for 40 minutes evaded them in a difficult postseason loss.

-Los Angeles’ first shot on goal in the third period game 9:08 in. By then they had been outshot 6-0 and had allowed a game-tying goal.

-The setup of the game-winner was an example of what must be done to produce a five-on-five goal in this series. On St. Louis’ breakout, Vladimir Sobotka weathered a big Trevor Lewis hit in the neutral zone in order to advance the puck, developing the play into one of the few odd-man rushes seen in Game 2. Darryl Sutter’s quote following Wednesday’s practice of “Move pucks quick and you expect to get hit” is illustrated here. I’m not sure if Jonathan Quick was screened; it certainly appeared to be a stoppable shot. To blame Quick is to overlook his .940 save percentage over the first two games, and to discount the team’s drop in play over the final 20 minutes as well as the lack of even strength scoring, which took a major hit in April. Los Angeles was outscored 24-19 in even strength regular season April games, and are yet to score a five-on-five goal in the Western Conference quarterfinals.

-The Kings received better production from their top players, though Anze Kopitar’s performance did not rise as the game progressed, and Jeff Carter produced a somewhat quiet five-shot performance, though he was able to test Elliott early in the game with quick releases from the outside perimeter of the circles and was better than he was on Tuesday. L.A.’s two best forwards were easily Dustin Brown and Justin Williams, while Colin Fraser offered a performance that would suggest that he’ll remain in the lineup for Game 3. I’d be interested to hear his choice of words to David Backes and Alex Pietrangelo during one particular stoppage in play, one of many post-whistle scrums in a highly emotional game.

-Kings fans will notice an increase in the quality of minutes Brian Elliott has been able to provide his team when the series shifts back to Los Angeles. He has been stellar, and it isn’t only because of the additions of Jay Bouwmeester and Jordan Leopold that have spread out and improved the minutes of the defense around him. Elliott isn’t giving up inopportune goals, as he had in last year’s playoff series and at times in head-to-head battles this season.

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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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