Waking up with the Kings: April 11 - LA Kings Insider

Thursday’s game between the Kings and Oilers looked like a mismatch prior to the opening puck drop. Kings-Oilers games often appear to be mismatches, but this one even more so as the home team was playing without Boyd Gordon and Andrew Ference and instead allotted nearly 21 minutes to 20-year-old Oscar Klefbom, who was playing in his 16th career game, and played with a bottom-six that matched up unfavorably to Los Angeles’. The Kings, on the other hand, were able to withstand the absences of Drew Doughty and Robyn Regehr by once again relying on fine performances from Jake Muzzin and Slava Voynov, who have handled the extra minutes and all-situations work quite well over the past week. The final score was 3-0; with another bounce here or there it could have been 5-0.

EDMONTON, AB - APRIL 10:  Martin Marincin #85 of the Edmonton Oilers fights for the puck against Anze Kopitar #11 of the Los Angeles Kings during an NHL game at Rexall Place on April 10, 2014 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The Kings defeated the Flames 3-0

It is a crime to delve this far into Waking up with the Kings and not acknowledge the impact Los Angeles’ top line had. With the team upset by its performance early in the game against Calgary on Wednesday, it was clear that there would be a concerted effort to open the game with a better start on Thursday. Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik and Justin Williams did just that, scoring 27 seconds into the game amidst indifferent defending by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oscar Klefbom and Justin Schultz. With the tone set, the line scored again at the nine minute mark of the first period when Kopitar carried the puck into the offensive zone and was afforded enormous swaths of time and space with which to work before finding Willie Mitchell, who fanned on a slapshot but was fortunate in channeling the puck to Gaborik, who was driving towards the net. He buried the puck as part of a three-point effort.

EDMONTON, AB - APRIL 10: Ryan Smyth #94 of the Edmonton Oilers battles for position against Willie Mitchell #33 and Martin Jones #31 of the Los Angeles Kings on April 10, 2014 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Ge

The Kings, the league’s top possession team, rank third in the NHL with a +5.4 shot differential team. The Oilers, among the league’s worst possession teams, rank third-to-last in the NHL with a -5.8 shot differential. In the four-game season series, Los Angeles outshot Edmonton 48-18, 40-24, 50-27 and 48-17. Thursday’s game was another demonstration in the discrepancy between the team’s ability to drive play and work in the offensive zone. The Oilers, whose only quality opportunity was snuffed out by a diving Martin Jones save to take a goal away from Taylor Hall early in the second period, amounted very little of a concerted attack, as it’s hard to generate offense when the puck is rarely on your stick. The season series was fittingly punctuated when the Kings finished with a plus-20 shot differential in the third period.

EDMONTON, AB - APRIL 10: Viktor Fasth #35 of the Edmonton Oilers defends net against Mike Richards #10 of the Los Angeles Kings during an NHL game at Rexall Place on April 10, 2014 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

With some line mixing and matching, it will be interesting to see who will be aligned together at Saturday’s morning skate. The Clifford-Lewis-Toffoli line was able to work the puck deep in the offensive zone, with Kyle Clifford standing out with his forechecking and work along the boards. His post-Olympic play is more advanced in all facets than his play earlier in the season.

Derek Leung / Getty Images Sport

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left

Bio

Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.
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Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.
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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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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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