I Was There #8: Kopitar's goal versus Detroit - LA Kings Insider

Throughout the next month, LAKI will be reviewing the top 10 moments of the Los Angeles Kings season as a recurring feature entitled “I Was There.”

KingsCast recently finished a similar endeavor, complete with screen grabs, video highlights and commentary. Alex Kinkopf’s #TopTen list is recommended as a great account of the 2012-13 season.

I Was There #8: Kopitar’s backhander past Howard leads to Kings win over Red Wings

On February 27, Anze Kopitar did this:

-courtesy KingsVision

It was a game-winning goal that followed a Jeff Carter equalizer by four minutes and 46 seconds.

Chipping the puck loose to Dwight King, who protected it well along the boards, Kopitar slipped into open space behind a fallen Jonathan Ericsson, and with momentum carrying him towards Jimmy Howard, received a pinpoint pass from King in the lower interior of the right circle.

At that moment, Kopitar’s hands found a nice rhythm with his quick decision-making.

As he drifted towards the far post, he spun to face Howard and quickly changed possession from his backhand to his forehand before tucking the puck between Howard’s left pad and the right post.

“It was a little bit of a scrum on the half wall there,” Kopitar said at the time. “I just wanted to make sure I got loose just in case those guys got the puck. Coming our way, I wanted to make sure I was in a decent position to come back. Then, once I saw Kinger get the puck, I just kind of opened up. I knew I was by myself in front of the goalie, and I was able to put it in.”

It was the immediate development of something fantastic out of an ordinary offensive zone battle, a moment conjured by Kopitar’s reach, confidence and a finishing ability that wasn’t always present late in the season. Whereas many of the other entries in the top ten list came during critical points of the season, this play was the defining moment of the seventh home game. Other than the banner raising ceremony, this play pre-dates all other highlights on this list.

Aesthetic beauty: Very high, though Kopitar sets a high bar. It wasn’t quite at the same level of beauty as his shorthanded goal against St. Louis in the 2012 Western Conference Semifinals…

Lasting impact: … and it didn’t have the same high stakes as his overtime game-winner in New Jersey.

Still, it was a game-winner late in the third period of a tense game the Kings had trailed after 40 minutes and generated an Exasperated Jimmy Howard Slash. It doesn’t carry the same impact as several of the higher-ranked moments that will follow on this list, but is certainly a play that will be remembered in future seasons and was perhaps the prettiest goal scored during the 2012-13 regular season.

Previously on “I Was There”
#10: Toffoli’s first goal
#9: Quick passes Hrudey

KingsCast #8: Hats-Off for Carter
KingsCast describes the Kopitar goal

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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.