Putting the Kids to Bed: September 7
Los Angeles 6 (Pearson x2, Andreoff x2, Deslauriers, Miller), Anaheim 1 (Rakell)
W: Berube (26/27)
L: Andersen (25/27)
-Other players had moments, but the three best skaters in the Kings’ 6-1 win over the Ducks in Saturday’s SoCal Futures Game were Tanner Pearson, Linden Vey and Tyler Toffoli. Pearson scored twice and distinguished himself well, though I came away awfully impressed with Vey, whose confidence with the puck and offensive awareness separated him from a crowded pool of talented prospects that included two Kings first rounders (Pearson, Derek Forbort) and four Ducks first rounders (Emerson Etem, Rickard Rakell, Shea Theodore, Hampus Lindholm). His beautifully threaded needle in the third period through a pair of Anaheim defenders sprung Pearson loose for a converted breakaway and was among the most deft touches of the evening. Pearson also drove the net well and was rewarded on a power play deflection off an Alex Roach shot, while Toffoli could have had one or two tallies had he generated his best attempts in the third period, where the goaltending wasn’t as exemplary. It’s probably a good sign that the team scored six times, and none of the goal scorers’ names was Tyler Toffoli.
-Los Angeles goaltenders turned in an encouraging performance. J.F. Berube was excellent through 40 minutes in stopping 26-of-27 shots before Mathias Niederberger shut the door in a perfect third period. Anaheim came out buzzing and tilted the ice towards L.A.’s end early and scored the game’s first goal; credit Berube for finding his rhythm by making several strong pad saves to put the Kings in position to tie the game when Andy Andreoff elected to shoot from an odd-angle two-on-one, beating Frederik Andersen up high. It’s unclear where Berube is headed this year – it very well may be Ontario, at least to start the season – considering Jones will eventually come to terms on a contract with the team. Niederberger, a native of Dusseldorf, Germany, was signed to an AHL contract by Manchester in July and turned in an intriguing third period in which Anaheim offered pressure throughout the game’s twilight and was much stronger than his counterpart, Igor Bobkov, who had already made his NHL debut.
-Andy Andreoff has an opportunity to make this Kings team and will be an interesting player to watch once main camp begins. He scored two goals – including his short-side snipe mentioned above – though any offense he can provide is an added bonus. Armed with a sandpaper-type skill set and sustained by a strong worth ethic, the 26-point (13-13=26) forward who banked 111 penalty minutes in his rookie AHL season a year ago is listed as a left wing but is also quite comfortable at center. Colin Fraser may be hearing some footsteps.