Waking up with the Kings: February 1 - LA Kings Insider

Short of pucks catapulting off mesh netting and deflecting off the goaltender and into the net, Gila River Arena has been the site of its fair share of unexpected developments. A building that elicits performances more Picasso than Vermeer is often impervious to Los Angeles’ tried and true checking detail and strong goaltending. The December 1 game in Glendale was a perfect example: Coyotes score 15 seconds in, regain lead on a soft goal late in the period, Kings fight back and win narrow, sloppy, one-goal game. Tuesday’s game strayed from this familiar script. In one of their better all-around performances in the desert in recent seasons, Los Angeles fought back from a pair of one-goal deficits by gradually exhibiting more and more of their familiar, tried-and-true systems work and were ultimately rewarded with a late Jake Muzzin goal in a game they had shown signs of taking control of early in the second period but weren’t yet able to transfer their advantage in the game into one on the scoreboard.

Norm Hall / NHLI

Muzzin played a hard, confident game and activated to chip in the game-winner with 1:49 remaining in what may have been his sturdiest performance of the entire season. He had two big hits on the game’s opening shift and three in the first eight minutes before finishing with a team-high 27:24 of ice time, in which he attempted eight shots and issued five hits and wasn’t on the ice for a goal against. There were some lapses in the defense – Brayden McNabb had a pair of turnovers that led to Ryan White’s goal, and Drew Doughty didn’t produce the type of engaged, physical performance that he uses as a guide to determine whether his game is going well – but Muzzin was among several players who anchored the five-man units up and down the ice in systems adherence that crescendoed as the game progressed. That positioning and support was important in a game in which Peter Budaj was fighting the puck a little bit and left several rebounds in high-tension areas that Los Angeles skaters did an admirable job of clearing away from danger.

Christian Petersen / Getty Images

There were several standout individual performances on both sides. For Arizona, Jordan Martinook continues to show that he’s an effective checking/depth scorer who has found success against Los Angeles in his young and promising career. Brendan Perlini, the namesake of the Brendan Perlini Trophy, awarded annually to the Kings-Coyotes rookie game MVP (which is not a real thing but should be), generated scoring opportunities in all three periods and was dangerous in generating five shots on goal and 10 shot attempts in his 18:13 of ice time. Los Angeles also banked on an effective performance again from Jordan Nolan, who used a perfectly placed Anze Kopitar banked stretch pass to gain a step and some leverage on Jacob Chychrun before deftly depositing the puck between Mike Smith’s legs for an important game-tying goal. He added 13:51 of ice time to his seasonal total and ended up seeing a lot of ice with Kopitar as the Kings moved their centers around the lineup. Kopitar, who had his third three-point performance of the season, was better than a point-per-game player in January and also scored an important game-tying goal. Though the Coyotes held two leads, they led for only 2:28 of game time as the Kings used a strong constitution to go along with gradually improving play to take control of an important road game they eventually won.

Norm Hall / NHLI

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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.