Without sounding too repetitive, the Kings are in a challenging portion of the schedule. Between the drop of the puck on Wednesday night and the final buzzer on Saturday, the Kings had finished three games in 69 hours, posting a 3-0 record and outscoring their opponents 5-0 in the third period. After breaking a deadlocked game with two third period markers on Wednesday, and scoring a valuable insurance goal in a 2-0 win at Calgary on Thursday, the recent trend continued as Alec Martinez posted the game-winner to conclude a perfect week in the return from the Olympic break. Third period goal scorers over the last three games have been Anze Kopitar, Dwight King, Martinez, and Justin Williams, who punctuated the Colorado and Carolina games with a pair of empty net goals. There have been times in tied third periods over the last two seasons where the thought of “This is where Jeff Carter usually scores the game-winner” enters into the collective spirit of Kings fans, but Los Angeles’ goal scoring superhero didn’t have his logo silhouetted into the sky over the final 20 minutes of the last three games, a la Batman.

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Zone entries. Carolina made little use of a surplus of them. The Hurricanes took 28 shots on 79 total zone entries, of which 25 were actually controlled entries. The .35 shots per entry were among the lowest shots per entry by an opponent this season, and the 32% of zone entries that were controlled (i.e. in which the puck was carried into the zone cleanly) was on the low end amongst Kings opponents as well. This is an indication that Los Angeles operated a useful forecheck on Saturday, and that very little of the action was sustained in the Kings’ defensive end. Credit L.A.’s defense for also breaking up several quality rushes; I counted at least two Drew Doughty interruptions of Carolina odd-man advances, while Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez were also well positioned to reduce the potency of quick Hurricanes counterstrikes.

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A byproduct of Los Angeles’ pre-Olympic slump was that the special teams performance took as big of a hit as it had all season. While there’s not a firm indication that the special teams numbers are profoundly rebounding, the team has been banking on key special teams efforts that represent timeliness over quantity. It began with Anze Kopitar’s power play goal late in the Colorado game, followed by a circus Martin Jones save on Gabriel Landeskog during a late Avalanche power play. This trend wasn’t really represented in the Calgary game, when the Kings produced an outstanding third period and weren’t assessed any late penalties. But against Carolina Alec Martinez ended a 2-for-23 stretch on the power play with an important goal with the man advantage, which was followed shortly afterwards by a Kyle Clifford delay of game penalty. Jonathan Quick denied the only shot on net, a 10 foot wristshot by Eric Staal.

Speaking of Quick, he has now stopped 73 of the last 75 shots faced, dating back to the Columbus game. Carry on.

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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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