Waking up with the Kings: May 29 - LA Kings Insider

-The difference between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks in the teams’ Western Conference semifinal series could be measured by the amount of space in which Justin Williams’ first goal crossed the goal line. This was a series decided by one or two inches over seven games. Williams’ greasy goal early in the second period popped in. Moments later, Logan Couture’s deflection – following a terrific spin-around attempt by Patrick Marleau – trickled inches wide. On the ensuing rush, Williams calmed down an Anze Kopitar pass and threaded a hard, low shot through a four or five inch seam between Antti Niemi’s right pad and the right post. These were the distinguishing characteristics between two sound defensive teams with excellent goaltenders. Margin of victory has never been narrower in a Kings playoff series.

-After a first period in which the teams appeared tentative and playing to avoid making a mistake, the Los Angeles Kings took advantage of a Brent Burns penalty 190 feet from his own net. Burns’ rambunctious net-presence had been a challenge for Kings defensemen in this series; I was thinking before the game that if there would be someone taking a hyper-caffeinated uncontrolled penalty in Game 7, there was a good chance it would be him. That wasn’t necessarily the case, though in attempting to assert his presence deep in the Los Angeles zone he crossed the line in a net-front battle. Six of the seven penalties assessed in the game were either taken in the offensive zone or negated a power play, and the seventh penalty – the unsportsmanlike conduct infraction assessed on Jonathan Quick – shouldn’t have even been called.

-The Sharks activated their defenseman in an attempt to generate more offense – as they had for many games in the series – and the Kings’ wingers were excellent along the boards in winning puck battles and keeping the play mostly to the perimeter against the pinches. The only costly mistake along the boards was when no winger was able to control Kopitar’s rim-around in the lead-up to Dan Boyle’s goal, which led to Joe Pavelski being able to find Dan Boyle with ample space, and the veteran defenseman beat Quick with heavy traffic in front.

-If you’re looking for another statistic that indicates how terrific Jonathan Quick’s play has been outside of save percentage, goals against average and shutouts, here’s one that I used earlier in the series: no team that has reached the Stanley Cup Final since the 2004-05 lockout has averaged less than the 2.32 goals per game that the Vancouver Canucks averaged in the 2011 postseason. The Kings have averaged exactly two goals per game this spring, and they’re four wins away from providing a minor statistical outlier. Marleau, Pavelski and Logan Couture may spend some time analyzing their Game 7 looks on Quick – Marleau on a spin-around, Pavelski on a third period rebound, and Couture on a backhand, all Grade-A opportunities – as Quick’s top saves Tuesday night stifled one of the Sharks’ premier scoring lines.

-TJ Galiardi and Burns skated with Joe Thornton throughout the second half of the regular season and the entirety of the series, but was that a good thing? What, really, did Galiardi (two points) and Burns (one point) consistently provide against Los Angeles? Did Raffi Torres’ absence handcuff Todd McLellan from being able to make adjustments that could have added some punch to San Jose’s scoring? Torres had skated with Couture and Marleau, and when he was suspended, Joe Pavelski jumped up to that line. Did that keep McLellan from being able to adjust and add another skilled forward – Pavelski, perhaps? – to play alongside Thornton in the midst of the team’s scoring woes? Thornton is one of the most gifted playmakers and a matchup nightmare for opposing teams, but he was playing with a forward who averaged .39 points per game in the regular season and a converted defenseman in this series.

-Red Wings or Blackhawks? Which hue of red and nasally-tinged Midwestern accent do you prefer, Kings fans?

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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.