Waking up with the Kings: November 16 - LA Kings Insider

-The Los Angeles Kings were a patient, intelligent team in their 2-0 win over the New Jersey Devils Friday night in a game that strongly embodied their identity, experience and familiar physical play. After relying on Ben Scrivens for some important saves during a first period in which they struggled to find a rhythm early, the Kings improved significantly in the second period and by the time the third period opened in a scoreless tie, it did feel like it was only a matter of time before the Kings would strike first. The Kings scored by using the heavily recycled line of “keeping things simple.” After Cory Schneider maintained his Cory Schneider-eque streak against the Kings – he has now stopped 164-of-171 (.960) shots in the regular season and playoffs against L.A. – Anze Kopitar drew attention along the half boards, attracting three Devils in his immediate area. That allowed Jake Muzzin to wrist a low shot towards the net through non-existent traffic as Dwight King remained unmarked in front of the net. His deflection past Schneider served as the game winner, and aside from his career high in goals, how about the points in the standings King has assisted in? His late equalizer against Buffalo earned a point for Los Angeles, and his deflection Friday night helped to add another two. He also posted a third period go-ahead goal in Carolina in addition to his hat trick against Phoenix, and much like the 2012 playoffs, has been able to step up in important situations.

-In his last six games, Jake Muzzin has five assists and a plus-1 rating. They’re solid numbers if they don’t exactly set the world on fire, and there are still occasional hiccups in his own end of the ice. Still, the offensive catalyst appears more poised with and without the puck, and this recent stretch of play should help in continuing to build his confidence. You can’t argue with results – the Kings’ last two game-winning goals have come on deflections of pucks Muzzin sent from the point. He recognizes the situation and has been adept at keeping pucks low to the ice in perfect position to be tipped or redirected. Early results of the reunion of Muzzin and Drew Doughty as a defensive pair have been positive.

Paul Bereswill / Getty Images Sport

-Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar were excellent. Brown was flying towards pucks as aggressively as he had at any point this season; is it crazy to think that the eight hits he was credited with were a touch low? He effectively used his body on every shift he took. How many additional first, second, third, fourth and fifth place Selke votes did Kopitar earn last night from members of the media that aren’t afforded many opportunities to see him play? Both were instrumental in limiting New Jersey’s chances throughout the second half of the game.

-The Kings are 2-0 since losing Jonathan Quick and doing their part in this interim injury binge to remain afloat in the ludicrously competitive Western Conference. While much of the narrative has surrounded the infusion of youth into the roster, there may be a period of time – perhaps on the road – in which the Kings will be overexposed if they rely too heavily on the rookies that were called up from Manchester. Tyler Toffoli has been excellent, even if his game against New Jersey was probably the weakest of the six games he has played thus far. Tanner Pearson was strong late against the Islanders, and Vey mostly appears comfortable playing at a National Hockey League pace. The Kings will eventually need a seventh healthy defenseman, however, and injured forwards will begin to draw back onto the active roster. In those situations, keep in mind the larger picture if any of the trio – or all three of the players – is optioned back to Manchester. In the year the Kings won the Stanley Cup, Slava Voynov was sent to Manchester twice in October and once in February. An 82-game season is a marathon, and while Toffoli and Vey have exceeded expectations to this point, and while Pearson is gaining comfort with every shift, these players do not have permanent roster spots set in stone.

Getty Images

Andy Marlin / National Hockey League

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

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.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


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.

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.