-On a day in which the Kings lost for the 15th time in 20 games and scored either one goal or no goals for the sixth consecutive game, there was a positive development out of their forward lines in the performance of Tyler Toffoli. Though the inability to score is the central story originating from this pre-Olympic slate, the Kings received a positive return in Toffoli’s placement as the left wing opposite Jeff Carter on Anze Kopitar’s line. His 18:42 of ice time was the second-highest single game usage in his regular season and postseason career, and his six shots represented a career-high. He was a positive asset along the boards and in the dirty areas and found himself in positions around the slot with an opportunity to shoot the puck. Should he be able to consistently generate performances like Saturday’s, the Kings’ offense will receive a boost. It’s almost silly to lead with a positive story about the offense when only one King has scored a goal over the past six games, but if Toffoli sticks on the top line and is comfortable on the left side, the offense will be more balanced as opponents will have to respect Carter and Toffoli on opposite wings, thus creating match-up challenges. This line’s performance on Tuesday should be an interesting storyline against the Blackhawks.

Noah Graham / National Hockey League

-We’re not seeing the five-man units working together in unison to the same degree that we saw earlier in the year. Players appear to be spread out over too wide a swath of the ice instead of the compacted five-man groups when possessing the puck in the defensive and neutral zones. There weren’t many passing options when Jake Muzzin turned the puck over on the play that led to Wayne Simmonds’ goal; because the forwards had broken up the ice early in the breakout, he defenseman was forced to make a long, angled width pass that Glaude Giroux deftly knocked out of mid-air. That type of cheating towards the offensive zone is something that has rarely seeped into the team’s game, and perhaps with the scoring dearth it has tilted the balance of the team’s forwards in the favor of recognizing the development of an offensive opportunity. In this need for offense even Anze Kopitar had broken ahead of the play in the first period while looking for a homerun pass that never developed, and though he has scored on breakaways in the past, he’s among the last players on the team associated with cheating towards the offensive zone.

Noah Graham / National Hockey League

-This upcoming break in the schedule is obviously coming at the right time for the Kings, who will need points this week to solidify their footing on a playoff spot. It’s probably too early to start paying attention to SportsClubStats.com, the popular statistics site that calculates a team’s chances of making the playoffs and their projected seeding, but let’s do it anyway. The Kings’ grasp on a playoff spot had been above 90% for the glut of the season; with yesterday’s loss it dropped to 87.1%. There is a 56% chance the Kings will finish as a “sixth” seed, which in all essence means the third place slot in the Pacific Division. So, should Los Angeles continue to win games at the rate they have won games from Game 1 to Game 57, they’re still looking at a first round match-up against San Jose, or should the current conference leader falter down the stretch, Anaheim. According to SportsClubStats.com, there is a greater probability of the Kings missing the playoffs than receiving home ice advantage in the first round. As of this morning, the most probable records that the Kings could generate them that would keep them as the first team out of the playoffs are 11-11-3 and 11-12-2. The Kings would remain more secure in a playoff spot by winning three more games than they lose. There’s really only one scenario to avoid like the plague – a first round series against Chicago – and the probability of that developing is very low at this point of the season. It’s still very early, so this is obviously premature analysis. The biggest developments out of this 20-game stretch are the team’s likeliness of opening the playoffs on the road after appearing to be in a dogfight with San Jose for home ice advantage (and, to a lesser extent, a dogfight with Anaheim for the division, as was a possibility earlier), and the less secure footing of a playoff spot.

Noah Graham / National Hockey League

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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