Waking up with the Kings: June 12 - LA Kings Insider

So much for expanding the lore of June 11. Despite a dominating puck possession performance and their ability to raise the level of play as the game progressed, the Kings were denied by Henrik Lundqvist 40 of 41 times on Wednesday night in a 2-1 loss that felt even narrower than the one-goal difference. Lundqvist also benefited from two pucks that stopped short of pay dirt, with Alec Martinez’s first period power play attempt making it as far as the goal line before being turned back. Also, credit Derek Stepan for having the wherewithal to push Tanner Pearson’s stopped puck away from the goal line instead of closing his hand on the puck to bring it back, which would have prompted a penalty shot. Los Angeles skaters after the game spoke about wanting to get better traffic in front, needing to show more desperation, playing a more physical style of game and offered a collection of other theories to analyze the 2-1 loss, but really, they were the better team, and their performance in Game 4 may have been their best performance of the series. They dominated in shots on goal, possession, scoring opportunities, and lost a game because their bounces, deflections and redirections were not as fortunate as their opponents, and because Lundqvist was the best he has been this series. Though he was beaten on a brilliant move by Dustin Brown one-on-one, he also denied Brown in a separate one-on-one opportunity and tracked Jeff Carter very well as the forward moved laterally atop the crease after beating a Rangers forward wide down the left wing in the second period.

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While Los Angeles spoke of the ways to accentuate their performance, New York pushed the needle of the Road Apples Detector after the game. Leading a team that had previously decried the bounces and poor luck throughout the series, Alain Vigneault said that the Hockey Gods were on New York’s side in Game 4, and Henrik Lundqvist said that “We talked about it the first couple games where, you know, especially against this team, you need that little extra puck luck.” While the bounces certainly favored the home team on Wednesday, over a seven-game series, the better team is going to advance, not the “lucky” team. There’s a good piece on Deadspin today about the hollowness of using “luck” as a tool in evaluation, or as Barry Petchesky writes, “some agency in chaos.” Over small sample sizes, “luck,” whatever the definition may be, is worth noting; by the time this series is claimed, it won’t be a relevant jumping off point to analyze why the Kings or Rangers are Stanley Cup champions.

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Welcome back, That 70’s Line. After its emergence earlier in the playoffs and breakthrough in the Western Conference Final, Tanner Pearson, Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli contributed with their finest performance to date in the Stanley Cup Final, and that’s a good sign for Kings fans. Pearson and Carter were perhaps Los Angeles’ best forwards, and though he’s not the likely Conn Smythe Trophy choice should the Kings ultimately win this series, Carter has been about as consistent as any forward on the team this postseason. Pearson, though, took eight shots and tied for a team-high four hits in 13:15 of ice time in Game 4, and his constant speed and confidence with the puck against top defensemen is a reflection of his own skill and the quickly but marvelously-chiseled chemistry inherent in a line comprised two-thirds by rookies. Both the Kopitar and Carter lines contributed with healthy possession numbers but when combining Pearson, Carter and Toffoli’s shot attempts, 14 shots were on goal, one shot was blocked, and one shot missed the net. As has been noted everywhere, Henrik Lundqvist was very good for the Rangers.

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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.