Waking up with the Kings: December 10 - LA Kings Insider

A recent road trip opener in Detroit started the meter on the Los Angeles Kings’ most difficult stretch of the season: 24 of 36 games played away from Staples Center, the meat of which is formed by three visits to the east coast and two to Western Canada. The Kings have opened the 36-game marathon with a 7-0-0 record – part of eight consecutive wins overall – and after a trip through several difficult buildings, returned home and took care of business against three teams whose games weren’t necessarily in prime order. That included the Carolina Hurricanes, who essentially did what they’ve done all season: possess the puck lopsidedly and score only intermittently. Their second goal may have come with a sniff of controversy, with Jonathan Quick believing that the Kings had touched the puck prior to Elias Lindholm burying Brock McGinn’s rebound. (A nice play by Jaccob Slavin to keep the play alive along the boards while pressured by Trevor Lewis appeared on a live look to be a Kings touch, but on replay, Lewis never handled the puck. I’m also not sure if this is the play that irked Quick.) But it ended in Tanner Pearson’s fifth career overtime goal – six if we add his goal on Martin Jones from the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs – and the fulfillment of a perfect home stand at the tail end of 15 games in 28 days. Los Angeles is 8-0-0 over the final 15 of the 28 days, so the players deserve credit for not exhausting themselves emotionally or physically.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

A day off, followed by the new challenge presented by another east coast road trip is probably good for a team whose game had slipped maybe an iota or two from some of the recent sturdy checking performances. The Dustin Brown quote applies – “sometimes you say at the end of losing streaks and at the end of winning streaks sometimes you’re losing games you shouldn’t, and sometimes you’re winning games you shouldn’t, as well,” he said in February, 2010, supplying LA Kings Insider with a quote he has used about 700 times since, give or take. The Kings didn’t necessarily play poorly against the Senators and Hurricanes, but there was perhaps a touch too many chances afforded to a team capable of generating them. Carolina leads all NHL teams in both Corsi-for and scoring chances-for per 60 minutes, so it’s not an anomaly to see them drop one of the more lopsided chance ratios against Los Angeles this season. Still, this didn’t seem like a game that was out of the Kings’ control. They exited the first period unscathed despite a glut of quality Canes looks over the final 10 minutes, built a two-goal lead in the second, and were forced to defend a desperate team in the third, providing fuel to a wonky chances-against count. There were some impressive performances by Carolina’s young guns – Elias Lindholm’s speed set up dangerous situations all night – but Tyler Toffoli, who is on pace for 37 goals, and Anze Kopitar, who is on pace for 42, made a major impact as the L.A. core again had fingerprints all over the win.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

The win also included a gutsy overtime shift by Kopitar, Toffoli and Drew Doughty, who weathered an exhausting two-and-a-half-minute overtime assignment by positioning themselves well and benefiting from missed nets by Teuvo Teravainen and Victor Rask. John Stevens also deserves credit for not overtaxing his lineup prior to the shift, as does the emergence of four viable lines; Doughty and Kopitar were both on pace to finish below their average usage prior to overtime. The Kings’ overtime play without Jeff Carter has taken a bit of a hit this season, and this was about as far from a signature overtime effort from one of the league’s premier three-on-three teams. But Quick closed the door, Tanner Pearson drove the net to bury his own rebound, and the Kings’ two shots in overtime, which came within two seconds of each other, led to their eighth straight win. The club’s record win streak is nine, set in the 2009-10 season, and since then, their 2013-14 and 2014-15 eight-game winning streaks led to losses despite sturdy play in the ninth game. It sets up a very interesting game in New Jersey on Tuesday.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

-Lead photo via Adam Pantozzi/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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