Waking up with the Kings: December 29 - LA Kings Insider

Several abbreviated thoughts on last night’s Kings victory:

-Los Angeles’ defense was outstanding in the 5-0 win. McNabb finished an assist away from a Gordie Howe Hat Trick, Drew Doughty was Drew Doughty in a “scant” 26-plus minutes of work, and Jake Muzzin, who made excellent reads all night and tied up Sven Baertschi in the crease twice – including a stick tie-up that directly prevented a goal against – had one of his finest defensive performances of the season. And, hey, Derek Forbort scored his first career goal! That’s always a fun moment to see, and while the Kings are trying to balance Forbort’s development with the additional minutes and offensive proclivity inherent in Christian Ehrhoff’s presence in the lineup, it would appear as though Forbort has done enough to get a look for the third consecutive game. Of course, the opponent heavily influences the lineup Darryl Sutter wants to use, and with the hour lost in travel last night, Ehrhoff could very well return to the ice in Edmonton.


-As for the forwards, the Kings’ top players picked up the slack in Jeff Carter’s absence. Anze Kopitar tied a career high with four assists, won 23-of-28 faceoffs and was rewarded with reduced usage as the Kings sailed away towards victory, a huge benefit on the first night of a back-to-back set. After a month and a half of seeing his shooting percentage regress back towards worldly levels, Tyler Toffoli found the back of the net three times as part of a seven-shot effort and is now tied for seventh in the league with 17 goals on the season. His shooting percentage is back up to 17.7%, and that’s high, but not otherworldly unsustainable. There’s obviously a spike because he scored three times last night, but he’s on pace for 40 goals.


-More forwards: The top three offensive lines were all terrors last night and consistently worked the puck to high-tension areas in and around the slot. Andy Andreoff’s line was excellent – he led all centers with a plus-nine Corsi-for rating while at even strength – and given that Henrik Sedin entered the game dinged up, the team, even without Carter, still held a significant advantage down the middle of the ice. (See: Linden Vey took 17 faceoffs and was on the Canucks’ top power play unit.)


-The Canucks were an undermanned group last night, but from the opening faceoff the Kings set a tone of the way they wanted to play with several key pieces missing from their own lineup. Brayden McNabb’s hit on Henrik Sedin will be scrutinized, and if the Department of Player Safety issues any supplemental discipline, that’s fine. But, that would raise the question of why Victor Hedman got off scot free wrist after retaliating against Kyle Clifford by elbowing the Kings’ forward directly in the face, leading to an “upper-body” injury. Spiel over, moving on.


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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.