Work ethic, attitude serving Kings well during streak - LA Kings Insider

As has been stated multiple times on this space and elsewhere, the Kings have thus far been receiving encouraging returns from a defensive group occupied by younger personnel who’ve absorbed wider roles than in seasons past. While Drew Doughty remains Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin has seen his penalty killing responsibilities grow significantly, and Alec Martinez and Brayden McNabb have thus far performed admirably as players earning more than 21 and a half minutes per night. Los Angeles’ 2.1 goals against per game is the sixth-best rate in the league; last year the Kings allowed 2.4 goals against per game. Your small sample size disclaimer still applies.

“It’s tough to just put it on us,” Muzzin said. “It starts with Quickie, and then us, and then our forwards. All of us have had a better attitude after the first three games. As opposed to ‘defend first, work hard, and then get your chances,’ before we were just trying to score goals and not work, and we were playing careless, so it’s a full focus from everyone.”

It’s a somewhat different look on Los Angeles’ back end as the defense utilizes a mix of able puck-movers with several modern, hybrid-type defenders in Doughty, Muzzin and McNabb, all of whom have a clear physical element in their games. While the Kings aren’t likely to find a regular spot atop national lists of the league’s fastest teams, the club, under Sutter, has played with a good tempo and has been successful when the defense quickly exchanges the pucks into the hands of the forwards in five-man units.

“The D have done a good job, being quick in our zone, being hard and physical on guys, and we just have to keep pounding those points,” Muzzin said. “It’s proven to be successful, so we have to continue doing that.”

With a goal, four points and a plus-seven rating during the club’s seven-game winning streak, Muzzin has practiced what he’s preaching. When asked about the evolving identity of the defense, he cited a change in personnel, if not structure.

“There’s new faces, and that may change people’s perspective on our identity, but I think we have the same mentality, the same attitude, and the same focus as previous years, and it’s been successful, and we want to continue that,” Muzzin said. “Young guys are stepping up, we want to embrace that, and continue leading that way as well.”

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

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


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

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

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


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

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.

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.