Waking up with the Kings: November 23 - LA Kings Insider

The slow realization of life without Jeff Carter continued to unfold Wednesday night at Staples Center as the Los Angeles Kings could not take advantage of a mostly well-checked game in which they curtailed the Winnipeg Jets’ chances at one end of the rink and showed an ability to get bodies and pucks towards the front of the net at the other. Winnipeg has built an early-season reputation on not having to generate a surplus of shots or chances to win games and for being a team capable of finding success off the rush, and it was at the end of what was very nearly a sawed off rush entry in which they scored an important goal with eight seconds remaining in the first period. Los Angeles had four men back on the play, and Tyler Toffoli appeared to do a good job of stepping in front of Andrew Copp to force what was very nearly a play in the other direction. But there’s no real hard support on the puck, which pinballed and fortuitously hit Adam Lowry in stride as he skated towards the lower perimeter of the right circle and put a backhanded puck on net that caught Jonathan Quick leaning in the opposite direction. That’s a taxing goal at the end of a competitive and even first period and forced L.A. to chase the game.

Juan Ocampo/NHLI

The challenges were familiar. The Kings faced a deficit after the first, and for the third time in the last six games, failed to score a five-on-five goal. And this will continue to be a challenge for a team that can’t call on Jeff Carter’s services until well into the second half of the season, should all go smoothly. Their center depth has been stretched taut, and in games in which Anze Kopitar’s line is kept off the scoresheet at even strength, there are going to be some low-scoring, one-goal games that haven’t recently haven’t been going their way. There are plenty of positives that Nick Shore brings in checking and responsible play away from the puck, but the team needed him to play over 16 minutes as a 3C last night, and he didn’t register one shot attempt. Overall, there wasn’t much to find fault in effort or the overall team game – minus the scoring, they probably checked and executed better Wednesday than they did in the 4-0 win at Montreal – other than the inability to beat Steve Mason clean on a wealthy collection of quality looks around the net. (But, oh, that slap/pass feeling.)

Juan Ocampo/NHLI

The polarizing play through the first seven weeks of the season have left some on the outside scratching their heads, but essentially, this is market correction for a group that was part of a massive glut of middle-class teams in the parity-rich league that was going to have to fight tooth and nail for every inch on the road towards the playoffs. They’re neither the team we saw in the first 11 games, nor are they the team they’ve shown to be the last 11. They’re somewhere in between the team that shot 9.2% in five-on-five play pre-Toronto and an even 5% in five-on-five play since the Leafs’ visit. While the team has opened up its offense and will score at a higher clip than last year, the possibility that the norm would be an output of around three goals per game is coming into clearer focus as wishful thinking. They’ll look to reassert themselves in Pacific Division play with important games at Arizona and versus Anaheim later this week in advance of a road-heavy, pre-holiday stretch.

Harry How/Getty Images

-Lead photo via Juan Ocampo/NHLI

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Alec martinez

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 210 lb | Age: 29

Born: July 26, 1987
Birthplace: Rochester Hills, MI, USA
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Martinez was drafted by the LA Kings in the 2007 Draft, while playing for Miami University. He has since become a two-time Stanley Cup champion and the 17th man in Stanley Cup playoff history to score the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

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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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