-While closing up shop in the Bob Miller Press Box Wednesday evening, I was chatting with one of the San Jose writers before he stepped into the elevator. I don’t recall his words verbatim, but they were to the extent of “I wouldn’t mind having a few more of these this year.” Amen. It’s impossible to recreate the drama and heightened stakes of playoff hockey in late October, but for an early season divisional game against an in-state rival, last night’s 4-3 overtime win by the Los Angeles Kings elicited the excitement and volatile momentum swings more closely associated with spring hockey. The game was more of a quiz than a test – with a Stanley Cup and the experience of having taken part in 38 playoff games over two seasons, the Kings clearly know that the weightier “tests” take place six months from now – and with three visits to the Shark Tank looming, the team will certainly be faced with a midterm exam on November 27. Really, this game was perfectly placed, a narrative I may have hit over the head a few too many times in the 24-hour lead-up. To be able to quickly return to action buoyed with the adrenaline of facing an NHL-leading team that they had dispatched in a gripping seven-game series some five months prior negated much of the mental and physical strain of playing on consecutive nights and allowed the team to quickly sublimate any negative intangibles conjured up by the loss to Phoenix the night before.

Noah Graham / NHL

-If you can forgive his offensive zone penalty that led to a go-ahead power play goal by Logan Couture (kind of a big “if”!), Kyle Clifford was very good for the second consecutive game. The good thing is that unlike the Phoenix game, when he was arguably the Kings’ best forward on the ice, there were a variety of top-six forwards that also stepped up with fine efforts in the win over San Jose. Anze Kopitar registered the game-winning goal and a game-tying assist and registered four shots without being credited with a giveaway in 23:24 of ice time. Mike Richards was mostly good in all areas of the ice and finished with two assists in 22:48 of ice time, his highest regular season total in almost two years. Credit is also due for Jarret Stoll, who has snapped out of his scoring schneid with goals in back-to-back game to provide some valuable scoring depth.

-Generally amongst the most disciplined teams in the league, the Sharks afforded the Kings six power plays, and Los Angeles took advantage twice. While the Kings were only whistled for five total penalties – one of which was a Clifford fighting major – three of their four shorthanded situations came as the result of an offensive zone penalty. Whether or not Daniel Carcillo’s take-out of Logan Couture along the boards should have warranted a penalty, Darryl Sutter does have a valid point that Carcillo has a reputation amongst league referees, and should he put himself in the position in which a questionable hit is made, the verdicts generally won’t return in his favor.

Stephen Dunn / Getty Images Sport

-Credit San Jose for directing shots away from Antti Niemi. Though Los Angeles registered 23 shots on goal, 17 attempts were blocked and the Kings were credited with a bizarrely high 23 missed shots.

-The Kings have outshot their opponents 13-3 through six overtimes this season. Even before their power play, the Kings were generating heavy pressure. Dustin Brown hit the crossbar and Mike Richards was denied with a Niemi glove save from a high-quality scoring area before Jeff Carter found a loose seam and was ultimately hooked by Justin Braun. Other than a Nashville power play that hemmed Los Angeles in its own zone on October 17, the Kings have dominated the extra five minutes this season.

-Why do I even attempt to provide line pairings in game previews? It is a futile and sad endeavor.

From Robert P. of Jewels from the Crown:
Kings Line Combos

Noah Graham / NHL

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