Waking up with the Kings: March 21 - LA Kings Insider

Los Angeles suffered through a dreadful start on Monday night in Edmonton, again ceding crisp passing sequences during zone entries to a faster, more skilled team, and if not for Jonathan Quick, the Connor McDavid show could’ve opened up a lead wider than 2-0. L.A. was again burned by a neutral zone turnover in falling behind 1:04 into the game, but again, two teams are on the ice, and credit has to go to Pat Maroon, whose silky smooth hands around the net and willingness to use his size to go into hard areas has resulted in 25 goals this season. The Oilers doubled their lead nearly 12 minutes later when the Kings had an opportunity to clear the zone at the beginning of a penalty kill, but Trevor Lewis skated past a bouncing puck off an Anze Kopitar chipped deflection, and Edmonton didn’t hesitate to turn the miscue into production as McDavid snapped the puck toward the front of the net, where Milan Lucic’s second effort hit pay dirt after he used his intuition to gain space from the Los Angeles defense in finding a dangerous area in front of the crease. McDavid was something to behold in the first period, but the Kings for the second straight night were challenged in exiting their zone cleanly, working their possession game in the offensive zone and generating shot volume. Though this changed later in the game, Los Angeles again had little life early as its first period goal differential dropped to minus-13.

Andy Devlin/NHLI

There wasn’t much to write home about from Rogers Centre last night, but if there’s anything that will stand out some six months to six years from now, it’s that Jarome Iginla, wearing a Kings jersey with #88 on the back, tried to instill some life into his team by fighting Maroon 54 seconds into the second period. LAKI is ambivalent about fighting in the game, but that’s a 39-year-old player sacrificing his body in his ninth game with his new team and going toe-to-toe in an extended bout with a 6-foot-3, 230-pound man mountain for the sake of trying to wring several extra neutrinos out of a group that didn’t exactly show itself to be extraordinarily engaged through stretches of the first period. Again, this isn’t to glorify fighting, but there’s something artistic or poetic or at least abstract about seeing a to-be Hall of Famer so badly want to win a game that he’d throw himself into the line of fire against a much younger player. In another display of Iginla’s force, he also made a power move and lowered a shoulder to stand up Adam Larsson when the young defenseman attempted to make a hit on him some 15 feet into the Edmonton zone in the second period and unsteadied the flatfooted young Oiler’s balance. It’s not yet clear whether Iginla will play past this season – and perhaps it’s worth asking why a younger player didn’t step in in place of the team’s oldest player – but if there’s something to take from his late-season stretch during a season about to capsize from the water it has taken on, it was that exhibition of fuel and competitiveness.

Andy Devlin/NHLI

There are 10 games left in the regular season, and after addressing certain broader details over the past week, there’s no real point in continuing to hammer them to death in this column. Most of the larger picture observations will come during some sort of season review, so this space will by and large dissect only the game in reflection. Enjoy your Tuesday, Insiders; barring any additional news to report, LAKI will take the recovery day and return for practice on Wednesday. If you have questions, complaints, observations, you’re free to email me, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. As always, thank you for reading and continuing this conversation. Let’s talk tomorrow.

Andy Devlin/NHLI

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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

Bio

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.
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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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Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

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.
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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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