King moves up; Kopitar praised
When the Kings skated at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida Saturday afternoon, there were a few slight adjustments. Dwight King was color coded with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter and took line rushes with the duo that had skated at even strength over the two previous games with Daniel Carcillo. Carcillo took rushes alongside an assortment of Jarret Stoll, Colin Fraser and Jordan Nolan.
King scored a shorthanded goal and registered a plus-1 rating in his 13:24 of work and was a topic of conversation both in last night’s post-game media scrum – Darryl Sutter said it was “good to get him going killing penalties” after the win – and at today’s practice.
Was last night’s game the best Dwight King had looked in the regular season?
“Yep,” said Sutter, who also referenced the strong preseason that the 24-year-old put together. “I said that he was our best left winger in training camp by quite a bit. A four line game last night, so you need 12 guys.”
Sutter appeared more eager to speak about Anze Kopitar’s recent performances when asked if Friday night offered a strong representation of the star center’s 200-foot game.
“Kopi’s been the best player every day since September 11th by a country mile,” Sutter said. “You guys base it strictly on offense, which is not what it’s about. Kopi has been unbelievable for us. We would be 0-and-5 or whatever without him. He plays against everybody’s best player. He did it again last night. Every shift, every faceoff, every penalty kill, every power play, every big draw, every big situation. He probably played three and a half minutes in overtime. He’s a special player. We’re very fortunate to be able to watch him play.”
Jonathan Quick also offered strong praise for Kopitar, who logged 24:01 of ice time last night and won 14-of-20 faceoffs.
“I think kind of the best player last night, I would say was Kopi. Kopi was great,” Quick said. “Another situation where it doesn’t turn up on the scoresheet as far as goals, assists, or anything like that, but the work he did in our D-zone against their top guys, and faceoff circles, stuff like that, it was a big reason why we were able to get to overtime, and a big reason why we were able to win it.”