Waking up with the Kings: December 24 - LA Kings Insider

The Los Angeles Kings failed to score a goal in a typically physical and low-scoring game against the Sharks in which their five-on-five play was rebuffed by a committed and hard San Jose checking and defensive effort. There was little space provided, and Los Angeles had trouble creating that space on its own. This is a credit to the Sharks, who played the type of game they need to play to be consistently successful and were better at generating chances at even strength. The Kings also had a few opportunities, but no real clean looks from the most dangerous areas, and some of their best looks came early during a late first period power play blitz turned away by Martin Jones. Both Jones and Jonathan Quick were quite good in this game, which didn’t veer particularly far from traditional Kings-Sharks scripts. Los Angeles fell to 0-3-2 in games heading into the Christmas break over the last five seasons, and all teams naturally deal with a portion of their attention inevitably elsewhere on December 23, but I never got the sense that this team wasn’t dialed in. Two teams play every game, and the Sharks effectively shut out the Kings’ looks from the middle of the ice off the rush or any real glut of second chances.

Scott Dinn/NHLI

John Stevens has gotten a quite a bit from his personnel, and the depth scoring on the team has improved, as has the production from the top players, but this wasn’t the best representation of a performance in which all lines and pairings really contributed to the overall team game. The game-winning goal was scored when a combination of Oscar Fantenberg, Alec Martinez, Andy Andreoff, Torrey Mitchell and Jonny Brodzinski were on the ice, and other than another raised workload for Martinez with Christian Folin out, none of that group played more than Brodzinski or Mitchell’s 8:20. It was a game heading into a break, so top players were likely to get heavy work in as the team fought from behind, but there did appear to be some inconsistent edges on the back end with a right-shot defenseman out.

Scott Dinn/NHLI

The Kings’ success within their own division is going to have to shape up as they embark on their annual Western Canada post-holiday trip and the calendar flips over. They’ve had mixed results within the division over the last four years and are a combined 15-18-5 since the start of 2016-17. It’s interesting: they’ve really built a very good team game in their three divisional wins this season, with the November 7 win at Anaheim serving as probably the peak return for the collective efforts. But with games versus Vegas, at Vancouver, at Edmonton and at Calgary approaching, followed by a stretch in which three of five games will be played against Anaheim and San Jose, the midterms are certainly here. This is an important stretch of play in which they’ll jump right back into a heated divisional battle against an all-of-a-sudden rival when the Golden Knights visit on Thursday.

Scott Dinn/NHLI

-Lead photo via Scott Dinn/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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