-Were the Kings motivated by an off-night against the Calgary Flames on Monday? As judged by their start, it certainly appeared that way as they shot out of the gate Thursday night, scoring 42 seconds into an eventual 7-4 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes. After drawing a penalty in their own zone, Los Angeles produced a pair of high quality scoring opportunities before Anze Kopitar wristed the puck past a vulnerable Mike Smith for his first regular season goal since March 25. They were up 2-0 less than four minutes later and led 4-0 after 20 minutes, courtesy of the strongest period of hockey they’ve played in the young season. There was a heavy forecheck, a high compete level and superb puck support in the first period. Whenever Los Angeles caused a loose puck to skirt to open spots of the ice in the opening 20 minutes, it was a King, not a Coyote, that was the first to gain possession. Keeping a quality opponent like Phoenix down for a full 60 minutes is not generally possible, and though the Coyotes scored twice in the second period, it was their ability to turn a 4-2 game into a 4-4 game in the first 2:50 of the third period that was the most disconcerting. After a timeout – and a Kings penalty – Mike Richards provided the game’s pivotal moment when he stripped Radim Vrbata of the puck on a Phoenix power play breakout and cut across the low slot before out-waiting Thomas Greiss and depositing the puck past his outstretched left pad. In two minutes the game’s cadence shifted from Why Oh Why Is This Happening towards Let’s See If Dwight King Can Get A Hat Trick.

-Dwight King. I avoid rooting for specific players, teams or outcomes, but quality story lines? I can definitely get behind those. King’s contributions aren’t always the easiest to define sharply, though they do help the team win hockey games. He generally does a good job of boosting the quality of team’s possession metrics in the offensive zone, and he frees some space for teammates near him while on the attack. King also enjoyed a very strong preseason, and his assignment to play at even strength with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams is a fair reward for the often unheralded work he puts in. On Thursday, he capitalized on his scoring opportunities with tallies on all three of his shots on goal, with his second goal standing out as the most attractive. His back was towards the net when he redirected Robyn Regehr’s hard, low shot past Mike Smith with his stick between his legs. Both Regehr’s placement of the shot and King’s ability to track the shot and get just the right amount of stick on it showed beautiful fundamentals. It was sort of like watching a perfect bunt down the third base line.

Stephen Dunn / Getty Images Sport

-Anze Kopitar scored, which means that the “When will Kopi score a regular season goal?” discussion has finally been tabled. With a goal and two assists, he now has 11 points in 11 games and is tied for second in the NHL with 10 assists. As referenced above, he could have had scored even earlier on the first power play after executing a high speed give-and-go with Justin Williams, which came off an excellent, unimpeded zone entry and finished with Mike Smith angrily slamming the ice with his stick. Like many of the other 10 games the team has played this season, he was the best forward on the ice for either team.

-The Pacific Division is top-heavy and bottom-full when it comes to faceoffs. There’s San Jose, Phoenix and Los Angeles, three of the league’s premier faceoff teams, and then there’s Edmonton, Calgary and Anaheim, three teams that have not had as much faceoff success in recent years. The Kings won 57% of the draws Thursday night and limited Antoine Vermette, who entered the game with more faceoff wins than any other player in the league, to a 7-of-17 performance. Kopitar, who was 15-of-26 and saw most of his draws against Vermette and Martin Hanzal, added another wrinkle to his fine performance last night.

Noah Graham / National Hockey League

Rules for Blog Commenting
  • - No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • - Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other commenters, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • - Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • - Please do not discuss, or post links to, websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • - Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.
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.

VIEW ALEC MARTINEZ POSTS
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.

VIEW ANZE KOPITAR POSTS
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.

VIEW DREW DOUGHTY POSTS
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.
VIEW TYLER TOFFOLI POSTS

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.

VIEW JEFF CARTER POSTS
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.

VIEW JONATHAN QUICK POSTS