Waking up with the Kings: November 15 - LA Kings Insider

There are lots of things to work out in the Los Angeles Kings’ game right now. There were still nits to pick when the team was winning 4-0, in Montreal, but now that the team has dropped three consecutive home games in regulation, the challenges are more pronounced. They’re still leading the division, so nobody’s running around with their hair on fire, but it took a cartoonishly bad second period for things to unravel in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to Vancouver. The game was actually somewhat of a microcosm of the season to date: race out like the four horsemen of the apocalypse to an early 2-0 lead, maintain the lead even though the play got sloppy in the second half of the first period, and ultimately fall level after the sloppy play caught up with the team once again. Essentially, the Kings weren’t too intent on forechecking, and as a result they were forechecked on, leading to a number of forced and unforced errors in puck management that were more glaring than in recent games. They’re still giving up too many scoring chances while creating too few of their own at even strength, and games in which Jonathan Quick isn’t a ninja, until this is corrected they’ll suffer some similar, narrow defeats to Tuesday’s. Los Angeles has been a very good third period team for the majority of their recent seasons, but it’s not a shock when Vancouver, which had been outscored 9-1 on its road trip, circles the wagons and wills together a spirited effort to fight back in a close game that helped them make something of their California swing.

Aaron Poole/NHLI

With Jeff Carter out for an extended period, the Kings are a bit too top-heavy of a team at the moment. Regardless of where he slots, Marian Gaborik’s return within the coming weeks will have the potential to add structure to the forward groups, and Jussi Jokinen may have the potential to provide more fitting minutes in the bottom six than Michael Cammalleri, but at the moment they’re a bit too reliant on the top two lines. Anze Kopitar has points in a career-high nine games, and Dustin Brown is experiencing a renaissance to his right – and they were quite good territorially on Tuesday – but should that well temporarily go dry for a few games, who else is capable of two-way play that’s essential for effective third line minutes?

Harry How/Getty Images

Does fighting galvanize a team? Players say it does, and I believe the players. And not only “the players,” but “the Canucks,” and specifically, in reference to Derek Dorsett’s fight with Andy Andreoff off the faceoff that followed Tanner Pearson’s goal in the first minute. “Oh, my God. It just got all the guys going. He knows the right time for it, when to step up,” Sven Baertschi told Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre. It’s a divisional game, the visitors are clearly upset after zero road trip points and an ugly goal differential, and it’s not a stretch to think that there was a potential for the temperature to rise at some point with Dorsett and Andreoff on the ice. And Andy is a tough, tough player – likely physically tougher than anyone sitting behind a computer and reading or writing this at this very moment – who also motivated his teammates. But was this the right time in the game to fight? I understand the knowledge going into a game that Dorsett is on the opposing bench and there’s a role you have to play to get yourself and your team going, but why provide the opposition any opportunity to generate their own momentum? Los Angeles ultimately potted a power play goal to double their lead shortly after their fight and at one point led 2-0 in the score, 5-0 in scoring chances and 2-0 in power plays before Vancouver registered their first shot, but, hey, the Canucks were praising Dorsett’s rugged ability to step in at a time on a road trip when their backs were against a wall and momentum was only artificially available. In the end, the Kings were willing to help supply some of it.

Aaron Poole/NHLI

-Lead photo via Aaron Poole/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

Bio

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

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

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

Bio

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